REU Site: Purdue Undergraduate Research Experiences for Plant Biology and Data Science (PURE-PD) 

Our 2024 summer program dates:  Mon., May 20 - Fri., July 26

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About the Program 

The Purdue Undergraduate Research Experiences for Plant Biology and Data Science (PURE-PD) is a 10-week immersive research program that connects undergraduate researchers with state-of-the-art authentic research in plant biology and big-data-driven science practices. The PURE-PD program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. 

Undergraduate researchers participating in the PURE-PD program are provided a $6,500 stipend, $750 meal allowance, on-campus housing, and travel to/from the Purdue University West Lafayette campus. 

Research Area

Based on the Purdue Center for Plant Biology, PURE-PD offers world-class research opportunities in basic plant biology at many scales. Undergraduate researchers participating in the PURE-PD program will explore big-data-driven science addressing a broad range of biological problems and methods, including bioinformatics, biochemistry, molecular genetics, physiology and ecology. Research projects in the proposed program are diverse and include the regulation of nutrition signals, plant health monitoring, plant host-pathogen interactions, and the regulation of developmental processes. 

For more detailed information on the specific research area offered by each PURE-PD program faculty mentor, please check the Purdue Center for Plant Biology faculty page. 

Learning Objectives 

Undergraduate researchers participating in the PURE-PD program will have the opportunity to: 

  • Receive individualized research experiences with hypothesis-driven research projects that are agriculturally and environmentally relevant and carry significance to society; 
  • Learn how data science approaches can be used to solve plant biology questions; 
  • Participate in professional development activities that focus on best practices in conducting research; 
  • Build a network with experts from academia, industry, and the local community. 

Program Activities 

In addition to hands-on research experience conducted in world-class facilities, participating undergraduate researchers will also be involved in: 

  • Weekly professional development workshops introducing the fundamental standards for working in a research environment, including research ethics, information literacy, data management, scholarly communication, and career development; 
  • Research roundtable discussions with faculty to explore a breadth of research questions in plant biology; 
  • Career development luncheons that offer opportunities for undergraduate researchers to explore and prepare for their potential career in science; 
  • The Purdue Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium to present their results and interact and network with their undergraduate peers; 
  • A variety of social activities to network and get familiar with the local community. 


We encourage applications from students majoring in agricultural and life science areas who are interested in plant biology and show enthusiasm working in science as a career.  We also encourage applications from students who belong to groups underrepresented in higher education, including racial/ethnic identities such as Hispanics or Latinos, Blacks or African Americans, and American Indians or Alaska Natives, first-generation college students, and students from community colleges.

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  • Applicants must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at a U.S. college or university (2-year or 4-year); 
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents; 
  • Applicants must have at least one semester of undergraduate study remaining after completing the PURE-PD program. 


Applications are due by February 29th, 2024 11:59 pm ET.

Required Materials 

  • An electronic copy of the applicant’s transcripts from the current institution; 
  • A statement of interest (no more than 500 words) describing the applicant’s educational and career goals, science background, and expectations for a successful summer experience; 
  • Two letters of recommendation (applicants need to submit contact information of referees with their applications); 
  • (optional) Self-calculated STEM GPA. 

Application Process 

To apply for the PURE-PD program, please use the NSF ETAP APPLICATION FORM. 

Note: You need to complete the NSF registration form in order to use the NSF ETAP system.


If you have any questions related to the PURE-PD program, please email Professor Chao Cai at