The University of Chicago hosts an NSF-funded Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in molecular engineering program that offers undergraduate students attending non-research colleges or universities the opportunity to gain authentic research experience working in the research labs of Pritzker Molecular Engineering (PME) faculty members.
Interested in learning more? Register for our January 24, 2024 information session
The program is open to 10 students during a 10-week summer research program and features:
- Support from a mentoring team of PME researchers;
- Immersion in the University’s research culture, including faculty research seminars and lab safety and ethics training;
- Science communication training and the opportunity to present your work to the University community and the general public through a partnership with local museums;
- Resources and support for the graduate school application process; and
- Guidance preparing a written report of your work, and optional follow-through support beyond the summer to write technical reports and prepare a paper for submission to a conference.
Based on students' preferences and faculty availability, each student will be assigned a faculty mentor and a graduate student/postdoc supervisor and will design a research project in close consultation with those mentors. Active participation in that research project will be the main focus of the summer experience, and students will be expected to participate in research for 40 hours per week for the full 10 weeks.
Possible research project areas include self-assembling polymers for nanomanufacturing, immune system engineering to prevent and treat diseases, quantum material development for next-generation information and sensing technologies, and molecular-level energy storage and harvesting tools and techniques. Take a look at past participants' projects.
PME REU Faculty
|Faculty||Research Project Areas|
|Chibueze Amanchukwu||Li-ion battery electrodeposition; electroactive polymers|
|Juan de Pablo||thermotropic liquid crystals; polymer contact electrification|
|Andrew Ferguson||optical supramolecular peptides; self-assembling colloids|
|Giulia Galli||bulk semiconductor properties; excited state engineering|
|Margaret Gardel||epithelial tissue microscopy; force-activated biological proteins|
|Alex High||optical energy concentrators; spin properties of surface states|
|Chong Liu||liquid electrolyte energy storage; bio-inspired membranes|
|Juan Mendoza||cytokine-directed evolution; protein interaction engineering|
|Stuart Rowan||dynamic covalent polymers; liquid crystalline elastomers|
|Allison Squires||single-molecule microscopy; light-harvesting nanoparticles|
|Melody Swartz||immunobiology of stromal cells; in vitro tumor models of cancer|
|Tian Zhong||electronic nuclear spin coupling; spin coherence in rare-earth ions|
To be an REU participant, you must be a US citizen or permanent resident enrolled in (but not yet graduated from) an accredited undergraduate college degree program with a major in a STEM field.
We select REU program participants from a nationwide pool. Our target students share the following:
- Strong background in chemistry, physics, biology, or computer science as well as mathematics
- Sound past academic performance
- Interest in attending graduate school and pursuing a career in science
- Currently attending a college or university where research opportunities are limited
We also aim to increase participation by members of traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM (women, minorities) and first-generation college students.
After you’re chosen to participate in the program, you’ll be registered at the University of Chicago (associated costs and fees will be covered by the program). Benefits include:
- $6,000 stipend
- Modest travel allowance
- Housing and meals for the duration of the program
- Access to libraries, athletic facilities, and substantial discounts to University-sponsored social and cultural events
To apply for the REU Program in Molecular Engineering, complete the online application by February 15, 2024. Successful candidates will be contacted by mid-March.
If you have questions, contact Laura Rico-Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org.