Advanced Materials Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

The University of California San Diego MRSEC Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program provides full-time summer undergraduate research opportunities at the forefront of materials science and engineering.  Participants in our highly collaborative and interdisciplinary program, which focuses on predictive assemblies and engineered living materials, will be fully immersed in the research laboratories of any one of our 20 MRSEC faculty from 5 departments across campus (Chemistry and Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Molecular Biology, NanoEngineering, Physics), as they engage in projects with a focus in either or both experiment and theory.

NSF-REU MRSEC students can expect to be:

• exposed to the grand challenges in the field of materials science;
• trained in computational, nanotechnological, and biological methods aimed at making new materials;
• provided mentoring and academic/professional development opportunities, including the potential to produce publishable research and participate in professional conferences.

The 2021 program application portal is now openApplications are due by March 1, 2021.

Program Details

Duration: June 28 - August 13 (10 weeks)

Programming: Extensive training and mentoring (by faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students) in cutting-edge materials science research is accompanied by weekly research seminars, industrial field trips, biweekly professional development workshops (safety and research ethics, science communication, information literacy, graduate school preparation), and social networking/recreation.

Expectations: Full-time commitment to extensive lab work and engagement in program activities, including presentation at UC San Diego’s Summer Undergraduate Research Conference in mid-August.

Support: $5,000 stipend, on-campus housing, and allowances for meals and travel.

Covid-19 Modifications: By early Spring 2021, we will make a decision about the format (remote/virtual or in-person) of the Summer 2021 program, based on the University's COVID-19 guidelines.

Who is eligible to participate?

This research program is open to undergraduate students in science and engineering at any 2- or 4-year institution who are:

• interested in gaining rigorous research experience in materials science and engineering;
• majoring in engineering (chemical, bio-, nano-, electrical and other), materials science, chemistry, biology, or physics; and
• citizens or permanent residents of the US or US territories, as stipulated by the NSF.

UC San Diego and our MRSEC are committed to the achievement of excellence and diversity among faculty, staff, and students. Women and minority applicants, veterans and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply to our NSF REU program.

Note:  There is NO (1) prior research experience necessary; (2) minimum GPA requirement; and (3) class standing requirement.

Faculty participating in the MRSEC 2021 REU Program

(applicants will be asked to select, in a ranked order, up to three faculty whose laboratory they would like to be assigned to, based on their research interests).

Jinhye Bae
Jinhye Bae

Developing new pathways of programmable assembly and deformation of soft matter at the nano to macro-scales.

Susan Golden
Susan Golden

Understanding the key events that enable the clock to tell time, become set to local time, and regulate global patterns of gene expression and metabolism.

Tod Pascal
Tod Pascal

Investigating predictive assembly of nanomaterials with desired properties for energy conversion and storage applications.

Andrea Tao
Andrea Tao

Studying the synthesis and surface chemistry of nanoscale materials, with an emphasis on developing new approaches for rational assembly and integration into composites and biological systems.

Mike Burkart
Mike Burkart

Fundamental understanding of carrier protein biosynthetic pathways, which includes non-ribosomal peptide, polyketide, and fatty acid biosynthesis.

Jim Golden
Andrew Kummel

Investigating the chemistry of microelectronics processing using scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy , molecular beams, laser spectroscopy, impedance spectroscopy and density functional theory calculations.

Jonathan Pokorski
Jonathan Pokorski

Developing novel materials by pursuing interdisciplinary research that combines chemistry, protein engineering and materials science.

Akif Tezcan
Akif Tezcan

Developing new chemical strategies for the construction of complex protein assemblies with sophisticated structures and physicochemical properties, and integrating such systems into living systems

Rachel Dutton
Zheng Chen

Using chemistry and chemical engineering principles to design, synthesize and utilize novel nanostructured materials, functional polymers and their hybrid materials for energy and environment sustainability.

Darren Lipomi
Darren Lipomi

Investigating fundamental and applied studies that relate molecular and nanoscale structure to function, and in devices that incorporate new physical effects to solve real-world problems.

Alex Frano
Michael Sailor

Synthesizing silicon-based nanomaterials and studying their fundamental chemical, electrochemical, photophysical, and nanomedical properties.

Rachel Dutton
Rachel Dutton

Understanding of the basic mechanisms that are at play within microbial communities, such as those that drive species interactions, and to identify general principles of community formation.

Steve Mayfield
Steve Mayfield (lab site)

Investigating molecular genetics in green algae, and on the production of therapeutic proteins and biofuel molecules using algae as a production platform.

Seth Cohen
Alina Schimpf

Developing and characterizing inorganic materials with unique electronic or photophysical properties that can be accessed via inexpensive, solution-based technique.

Joshua Figueroa
Joshua Figueroa

Design and synthesis of highly tailored and reactive transition metal complexes for small molecule activation chemistry.

Arya Gaurav
Ying Shirley Meng

Investigating functional nano and micro-scale materials for energy storage and conversion.

Seth Cohen
Don Sirbuly

Leveraging the unique optical, mechanical and electrical properties of low-dimensional nanomaterials to develop novel platforms for sensing, biodiagnostics, imaging, and spectroscopy.

Jim Golden
Jim Golden

Developing improved genetic tools for cyanobacterial genetic engineering and the use of these tools to answer basic-science questions and for biotechnology applications.

Francesco Paesani
Francesco Paesani

Developing new methods and software to predict the behavior of complex molecular systems at different length and time scales.

Nicole Steinmetz
Nicole Steinmetz

Design, development, and testing of materials and biologics derived from plant viruses as next generation pharmaceuticals and engineered living materials with applications in human, animal, and plant health.

How can you apply?

A complete application consists of an online application form with the following materials:

1. Statement of purpose:
A 1-page (maximum; 12pt font, 1-in. margins) document describing (1) your interest in materials research, (2) prior experiences in this area of study, (3) academic and professional goals, and (4) how your participation in UC San Diego’s MRSEC REU program will help you to achieve these goals.

2. Letters of recommendation (2 required):
These references should be provided by faculty members (in a scientific field) who as an instructor or advisor can address your abilities and potential as a student researcher.  The online application form will allow you to enter contact information (name and e-mail) for each reference.  Your references will then receive an email that requests an electronic letter on your behalf, with instructions on how to submit their file.

3. Resume/CV:
Among other relevant experiences and skills, please be sure to note if you have computer skills (for example, knowledge of programming languages).

4. Current (unofficial) transcript

Complete applications (with reference letters) are due by 11:59 PM (PST) on Monday, March 1.  Successful applicants will be notified by e-mail by late March. If you have questions about the MRSEC REU program, please contact Janka Bond.