SynBERC Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Synthetic Biology

SynBERC runs a nine-week summer research program that provides undergraduates with basic training in lab fundamentals, exposes them to core concepts of synthetic biology, and engages them in mentored research in the collaborative environments of individual faculty labs. Participants spend the first week in a Lab Fundamentals Bootcamp that covers basic lab and research skills, and the following eight weeks in mentored research in a SynBERC faculty lab. A graduate student or postdoctoral fellow serves as the student's research mentor throughout the summer. Students spend at least 40 hours a week on their research project. At the end of the summer, each student produces a written report or a poster outlining his/her research results. Selected students receive a weekly stipend and college course credit. Limited funding is available for housing/travel subsidies.

Synberc REU student receives a hands-on demonstration of a lab technique from his mentor.


The program gives preference to students from primarily undergraduate institutions (i.e. community colleges or four-year colleges where the highest degree awarded is a bachelor degree), and those from diverse groups traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering programs. Prior research experience is not required.

Students must meet the following criteria:

  • Commit to nine-weeks of full-time research over the summer
  • Be a sophomore (with at least four quarters or 3 semesters of college experience), junior, or non-graduating senior who is planning to return to undergraduate studies in the fall semester
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Be interested in pursuing a Ph.D.

The application deadline for summer 2014 has passed and we are no longer accepting applications. For questions, please contact, Kate Spohr, SynBERC Education Outreach Manager.