Undergraduate Student Research
Why Engage in Research?
Science is a process, not a collection of memorized facts. Experimental research gives you an opportunity to apply knowledge learned in lecture courses and gain a deeper understanding of molecular processes. Lab work also helps you develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, both of which are highly regarded by employers, graduate schools, and professional schools.
Why Should I Get Involved?
While only four research credits are required for your degree, we encourage you to join a lab as soon as possible. More time in a lab will allow you to develop desirable skills, network, and learn more about your own research interests.
Registering for BICH 491 or GENE 491 Research Credits
Your BICH or GENE degree plan requires at least 4 credit hours of independent research (BICH/GENE 491). Your 4th credit hour will be spent detailing your work in an original undergraduate thesis. You may enroll in more than 1 credit each semester, though it is typically recommended to register for no more than two credits per semester. The research requirement is a unique feature of our department—Research is optional at most universities.
Students may begin submitting research forms November 2. Please be aware that if you receive any kind of financial aid, including (but not limited to) loans, scholarships, and Veterans benefits, you must be enrolled full-time by the below federal funding priority deadlines:
- Fall – August 1
- Spring – December 1
- Summer – May 1
Students affected by the above dates must have their research forms and faculty research supervisor (PI) approvals submitted to email@example.com no later than 1-week prior to the deadlines.
Forms and PI approvals for students receiving financial aid for Spring 2024 are due by November 22, 2023 (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving). Forms and PI approvals received after this date may not be processed in time to meet the December 1 federal funding priority deadline, and students run the risk of having their financial aid impacted.
Note that it is the student’s responsibility to fill out the 491-research form correctly and ensure they are enrolled in the appropriate research credits by checking their course schedules. If you are not enrolled by the priority funding dates listed above, the department either never received your form or did not receive PI approval for your enrollment, and your federal funding could be impacted. It is the student’s responsibility to follow up with the department and their faculty research supervisor if they find they are not enrolled. The advising office only executes the enrollment of students in BICH/GENE 491 after receiving confirmation from the department to enroll students. The advising office does not manage the request form or reach out to faculty about your research request.
How to Find a Research Lab
- Find a lab on campus doing research in something that interests you. You are not limited to working with BCBP faculty as long as the research pertains directly to your major in Biochemistry or Genetics.
- Contact the faculty research supervisor (PI) in charge of the lab at least one semester prior to the anticipated start date to request a meeting.
- Include: major, class year, and anticipated start date.
- Describe your interest in their lab and what you hope to gain from the experience.
- It is recommended to contact at least a dozen or more PIs at a time when searching for a lab. Do not mass email them. Provide a brief individualized message to each PI you contact.
- Give each PI one week to respond before following up with a second email. If the PI does not respond to your second email, move on to another PI.
Summer REU Program
Through the Biochemistry and Biophysics Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program, students will work full time in a faculty research lab for 10 weeks over the summer, exploring multiple disciplines in biochemistry and biophysics.
In addition to a research project, students will attend weekly seminars on professional development, science ethics, and effective oral and written communication.
Graduate Student Research
Graduate students in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics will have the opportunity to take part in research opportunities consistent with their educational passion. Students will pair with our world-class faculty to address the needs and challenges of the industry.