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biosci » » research » undergrad
Undergraduate Research in BioSci

Participation in research is a distinguishing characteristic of the S&T BioSci program, with 80% of BioSci majors engaging in research at some time during their undergraduate training. Students are encouraged to publish their work or present at regional or national meetings.

Students interested in research should review faculty research interests (the BioSci web site and Survival Guide are good resources) and schedule an appointment with the faculty member (e-mail usually works best).

Depending on the situation, students may:

1.  Volunteer as a research assistant. This provides an excellent introduction to research.

2.  Perform research for credit (BioSci 390).

3.  Apply for an OURE (Opportunity for Research Experience) grant ( ) with a faculty advisor. (This provides a modest stipend.
    The application deadline is usually April 1)

4.  Obtain employment in a research laboratory, contingent upon funding availability. Employment in research labs is also possible through the work-study program.

5.  Participate in the iGEM biology student design team. This group designs, executes and presents projects in synthetic biology at national meetings.
     ( )

Summer Research Opportunities. BioSci students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of summer research opportunities at universities and research foundations in the region and throughout the nation. These programs typically provide housing and a stipend. Applications are generally due in January for the upcoming summer. Recent S&T students have attended summer programs at the National Institutes of Health, Montana State University, Purdue University, Boston College, Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis Zoo, Jackson Laboratories (Bar Harbor, Maine), and the Universities of Chicago, Iowa, Illinois and Texas.

It is not difficult to identify programs on the web.  However, the department maintains a list of programs in the office. You may also ask your advisor or the department chair about programs suited to your interests. Helix usually has a meeting devoted to summer research and maintains a website with links to some of the more popular programs (

There are many programs: the secret is to apply early. Plan on investigating available programs and identifying the ones that interest you over the December semester break and apply in January.  Don’t forget that you will need letters of recommendation so contact faculty well in advance if you would like them to write a letter of support.

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