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UT-REU: “How Cells and Organisms make Decisions”

REU Site: “Molecular Signaling – How Cells and Organisms Make Decisions”

Research Experiences for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Update: Application *not available* for Summer 2023 

Organisms across all biological kingdoms possess the common challenge of sensing and adapting to a changing and often hostile environment.  How they respond to these challenges often represent a life or death “decision” that determines organism survival.

Student presentating work

At the cellular and molecular level, perception and response to environmental challenge is mediated by an interplay between complex arrays of molecules, genes, and metabolic networks. With the vast genomic and bioinformatic resources now available, scientists are beginning to understand and predict how these networks coordinate behaviors of cells and organisms.  This is the emerging area of “systems-level biology” which is poised to transform medicine and agriculture.

This summer REU program will provide students with the opportunity to engage in multi-disciplinary research projects employing molecular, genomic, and systems level approaches to investigate how model organisms across all kingdoms of life sense and adapt to a changing environment.

Program highlights:

  • 10-week research training opportunity in the modern molecular and cellular biosciences addressing problems relevant to health and the environment
  • Conduct individual research projects mentored by one of 13 faculty laboratories in the following Departments or Programs at the University of Tennessee
  • Participate in weekly academic and professional development program meetings, as well as STEM Career Opportunity workshops
  • Present research findings at the UT Summer Scholars Symposium at the end of the program
  • Stipend support ($600/week) for each student participant
  • Additional funding support for housing through out the program
  • Funding support and reimbursement for travel costs

Who should apply?

  • Highly motivated Deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduate students with a major in Biology, Chemistry, or other major in the Physical Sciences or Engineering who are interested in molecular and cellular biological research and a career in STEM.
  • Highly motivated hearing undergraduate students with a major in the Biological Sciences or Chemistry. Students with a strong interest in the Deaf culture and with knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL) will be given priority.
  • No prior research experience is required, however, priority will be given to students who have completed at least one course in biology and/or chemistry.
  • Undergraduates who will be attending a college or university in fall 2023 to work toward the Bachelor’s degree. (Graduating seniors are not eligible)
  • United States citizens or permanent residents (required by NSF guidelines).
  • Underrepresented groups, or those who are the first generation in their families to attend college are especially encouraged to apply.

How to apply:

Apply online Please be aware that the program is not available for summer 2023!

For more information, please direct inquiries to:

Elena D. Shpak (Associate Professor and REU director)

Cheryl Hodge (REU Administrative Assistant)