Summer Program in Molecular Biosciences

May 30, 2017 – August 3, 2017

Program Description

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, with financial support from the National Science Foundation, offers qualified undergraduates from throughout the country the opportunity to conduct research projects in biochemistry and molecular biology for ten weeks each summer.

This program allows students to participate in active research in a wide range of areas, including protein structure and function, transcriptional mechanisms, molecular neurobiology, regulation of gene expression in a chromatin context, cancer biology, plant biology, embryonic development, diabetes, cytoskeleton dynamics, and virology.

Students will be involved in exciting and interesting projects at the very edge of our current knowledge in these areas. They will learn how to formulate and test hypotheses, how to problem-solve and troubleshoot, and how to use state-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation including analytical ultracentrifugation and X-ray crystallography. A significant number of participants in this program have published the results of their projects in scientific journals.

Each student is assigned to a specific faculty member’s research laboratory, where the student works closely with the faculty mentor, post-doctoral associates, and graduate students. Click here for the list of potential mentors. The student participates fully in the life of the mentor’s lab. In addition, there are informal meetings of all program participants to exchange information on the research being done and to discuss areas of biochemistry/molecular biology that are of particular interest and excitement. There are also weekly meetings at which various scientists describe the latest advances in their own
research or career opportunities in biomedical or biotechnology fields. Informal evening or weekend social, recreational, and cultural events with program participants and faculty provide for relaxation. The summer experience is capped by a mini-symposium at which program participants present a poster/report on their project and receive certificates of completion for the program.

Stipends, Living Allowance, and Travel

Participants in the 10-week program are provided $5,000 stipends, housing in nearby apartments, and $1,700 for food. In addition, they receive up to $800 for documented travel expenses (direct route from either home or school to begin the program, and by direct route to home or school at the end of the program). The costs of some optional planned recreational activities (e.g., whitewater rafting) are borne by the student.


Students who will graduate at the end of the Spring 2014 term are not eligible for this program. Participants must be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or its possessions (NSF requirement).

While there are no set course requirements, our REU Program is oriented towards students who have completed at least some college level biology and general chemistry.

Students from groups that are traditionally under-represented in science (women, under-represented ethnic and racial minorities, and those with physical challenges) are especially encouraged to apply. Also, students from smaller undergraduate institutions with limited opportunities for research are encouraged to apply.

Fort Collins and Colorado State University

Fort Collins (population 144,000) lies 65 miles north of Denver, along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation approximately 5,000 feet above sea level. Fort Collins has about 300 days of sunshine per year with low humidity and average summer temperatures ranging from 92° F (high) to 40° F (low). Recreation areas such as Rocky Mountain National Park and the Roosevelt National Forest are within an hour’s drive.

Colorado State University is a land-grant institution and has an enrollment of about 27,000 students and 1,540 faculty. CSU offers about 20 undergraduate majors in the biosciences and has graduate programs in approximately 19 bioscience departments.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has about 160 undergraduate majors, 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, 20 regular and joint appointment faculty, and 13 research scientists. All faculty are engaged in bioscience research that is supported by about $5.5 million in funds from outside sources. The department occupies a $14 million research building completely equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation needed to carry out research in modern biochemistry, molecular biology, and structural biology. Specialized labs include a Macromolecular Resource Facility for peptide synthesis and sequencing, DNA sequencing, and oligonucleotide synthesis; a Fluorescence Microscopy/Image Analysis Center for computer-enhanced cell imaging, microinjection of cells, luminescence imaging, and sophisticated densitometric analyses of gels; a Recombinant DNA Facility; state-of-the-art analytical ultracentrifugation and X-ray crystallography facilities; and a Computer Work Station for Molecular Modeling.

Applying to the REU Summer Research Program

1) To apply, please click the link and submit the online application form

2) Please upload your unofficial transcript into the application.

3) Ask two references (preferably Chemistry and/or Biology professors who know you well) to complete the program’s special online Recommendation form. An email with a special link will be sent to them after you have submitted the online application.


Our address is:

Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Colorado State University

1870 Campus Delivery

Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1870

If you have questions, please email us at or contact us at 970-491-5602.