UC Berkeley Synthetic Biology Research Program

Research opportunities are available for highly-motivated UC Berkeley undergraduates in two synthetic biology summer programs. Students are paid a stipend and are expected to work full-time during the duration of the program.

Special Projects in Synthetic Biology (SPSB)
SPSB is a new team-based program that offers five undergraduates an intense, graduate-level research experience working together to plan, execute, and present a new project in the Dueber Lab. The program takes place from late May through mid-August. The program strives to provide a level of autonomy while still providing students with constructive mentorship, and making certain there is ample host lab investment in the success of the team’s project. The team will present their work in at least one campus-wide seminar series and ultimately aim for a publication. We will have weekly meetings to discuss progress and the team members are expected to eventually gain similar independence to that of a graduate student.

The joint UCSF/UCB iGEM team recruits two UCB undergraduates each year. iGEM, or the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, is the "Olympics" of synthetic biology. Berkeley students work in a team of 8 other undergraduate and high school students over the summer on a joint project in synthetic biology. Candidates must besophomores or juniors with relevant coursework in molecular biology and biochemistry. Previous wet lab experience, specifically in cloning and bacteria/yeast, as well as competence in data analysis/mathematical modeling in MatLab, is desirable though not required. All work takes place at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus. The program begins full-time in late May and continues through the third week of August, with continued involvement of approximately 10-15 hrs/wk thereafter until Oct. 30. Students participate in the iGEM World Jamboree in Boston, Oct 30-Nov 3 and their expenses will be covered.


Applicants must be enrolled in undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley. We welcome students from a wide range of disciplines, including:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • bioengineering
  • chemical engineering
  • chemical biology
  • molecular and cell biology
  • integrative biology
  • computational biology
  • mathematics
  • electrical engineering
  • computer science

To learn more about UC Berkeley's past iGEM teams and projects, click below: