Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) - Genetic and Biochemical Analysis of Proteins

Program Dates: May 20 - July 26, 2024

Program Description

This National Science Foundation sponsored program provides advanced training in the manipulation and analysis of proteins for undergraduate students. It facilitates deep understanding of experimental laboratory research, insights into protein biochemistry and contemplation of the broader context of research. A wide range of student research projects mentored by faculty in the Department of Biochemistry is available. Examples include the experimental analysis of enzyme mechanisms, post-translational protein modifications, proteomics, and protein-nucleic acid interactions studied in the biological context of cell cycle control, chromatin regulation and renewable energy research.
Problem-based modules presented during the first three days of the program introduce key concepts in protein biochemistry and experimental design. After this brief orientation, the program emphasizes full-time research supplemented with weekly sessions on ethical conduct in research, professional communication, and the graduate school application process. At the end of the program students will present their results at a departmental symposium and a university-wide poster session.


Applications are now closed. All spots have been filled.


REU App​​lication

Applications for Summer 2024 are now Closed.  all spots are filled.  

  • Complete our program's ONLINE APPLICATION, including a statement of career goals and reasons for participating in the program.
  • Upload an unofficial copy of your transcript with the application. If selected, an official transcript will be requested.
  • Request two faculty recommendation letters to be submitted online. The student application will generate automatic e-mail to recommenders explaining the process. You will receive a confirmation email when each recommendation is received.

Participants are provided:
  • $6250 stipend and additional $750 meal allowance
  • Housing on campus
  • Round trip transportation to West Lafayette

Applicants must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at a U.S. college or university and have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students should have completed at least 4 semesters by the start of the program. In addition, students must have at least one semester of undergraduate study remaining after completing the summer program and fulfill the NSF citizenship requirements. Applications will require a statement of career goals and reasons for participating in the program and two faculty recommendation letters. Faculty will be asked to comment on their perception of the applicant’s interest in graduate research. Students from the Purdue, West Lafayette campus are unlikely to be selected for this program and are encouraged to apply to other programs.
The program seeks to recruit undergraduate students who are members of underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

After the first week students will focus on individual research projects in one of the following laboratories:
  • Scott Briggs - Histone methylation
  • Clint Chapple - Phenylpropanoid pathway, regulation of lignin synthesis in plants
  • Kyle CottrellRNA editing, post-transcriptional regulation, and cancer
  • Brian Dilkes - Plant biochemistry, protein analysis using natural variation, genetics​
  • Natalia Dudareva - Plant molecular biology, biochemistry of aromatic compounds 
  • James Forney - Protein sumoylation, protozoa
  • Barbara Golden - Catalysis: RNA/protein
  • Humaira Gowher​ - Regulation of DNA methylation in development and disease
  • Mark Hall Regulation of the cell cycle by ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis; protein mass spectrometry
  • Ann Kirchmaier - Histone modifications, gene silencing
  • Xing Liu- Roles and regulations of ubiquitin-proteasome dependent protein degradation
  • Andrew Mesecar - Mechanisms and function of therapeutic enzymes and proteins 
  • Joseph Ogas - Chromatin remodeling proteins, cell differentiation
  • Sujith Puthiyaveetil​​ - ​Genetic and molecular control of photosynthetic light utilization
  • W. Andy Tao - Proteomics, mass spectrometry
  • Vikki Weake - Histone modifications in cell differentiation, neurobiology
  • Jennifer Wisecaver - The evolution of eukaryotic chemodiversity using genomics and phylogenetics

1. What is the application deadline?

Applications open November 15, 2023 and the priority deadline is February 15, 2024. Applications will be accepted until all postitions are filled. 
2. Can I apply if my GPA is less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale?

No, this program requires a 3.0 GPA, but you are welcome to apply in the future if your GPA increases and you remain eligible according to other criteria. 
3. Can I apply if I have completed fewer than 4 semesters of college coursework?

No, applicants to our program are required to have completed at least 4 semesters of college coursework. Some NSF-REU programs take students with fewer semesters so you may wish to search out those opportunities and inquire about eligibility. 
4. Can I apply if I am a senior graduating before July 2024?

No, NSF regulations require that participants have at least one semester of undergraduate study remaining after completing the summer program. 
5. Can I apply if I am not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or permanent resident?

No, NSF regulations require participants to be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or permanent residents. 
6. Can students attending Purdue University, West Lafayette campus apply?

Yes, but they are unlikely to be selected and are encouraged to apply to other programs
7. My college does not complete the spring semester until June, can I still participate in this program?

Participants are required to be available for the entire duration of the summer program, May 20-July 26, 2024. 
8. How do I submit my transcript?

An unofficial copy of your transcript may be uploaded in the online application form as a PDF, JPEG or other format. If you are selected for the program, an official transcript will be requested for verification. 
9. When will I find out if I have been selected for this program?

We will begin reviewing applications in February. 
10. Who can I contact if I still have questions about this NSF-REU summer program?

If you still have questions that are not answered above, please contact Jenny Wilson at

REU Activities​

In addition to career development workshops, the program will provide social activities to strengthen relationships and integrate students into the campus and community. Examples include an opening week reception for students and mentors, a July 4th barbecue, and visits to local attractions such as Wolf Park and Prophetstown State Park. REU students will participate in team-building exercises such as a ropes course, as well as weekly meetings and field trips to local life sciences companies. Near the end of the summer, all REU students will participate in a poster session and give a presentation on their research.
  • REU students participate in the Ropes Challenge course at Purdue University
  • REU students join other members of the Biochemistry Department on a canoe trip
  • REU students presented posters on their summer research
  • REU students gave oral research presentations at the end of the summer
  • REU students joined other Biochemistry summer research students on a field trip to a local biotech company

REU C​campus and Community

Purdue University

Purdue University is a vast laboratory for discovery. The university is known not only for science, technology, engineering, and math programs, but also for our imagination, ingenuity, and innovation. It’s a place where those who seek an education come to make their ideas real — especially when those transformative discoveries lead to scientific, technological, social, or humanitarian impact.
Founded in 1869 in West Lafayette, Indiana, the university proudly serves its state as well as the nation and the world. Academically, Purdue’s role as a major research institution is supported by top-ranking disciplines in pharmacy, business, engineering, and agriculture. More than 39,000 students are enrolled here. All 50 states and 130 countries are represented. Add about 850 student organizations and Big Ten Boilermaker athletics, and you get a college atmosphere that’s without rival. 

Greater Lafayette Area

Located in north-central Indiana - just an hour from Indianapolis and 2 hours from Chicago - West Lafayette (29,835 permanent residents) is an economically strong, educated community where citizens enjoy a high quality of life, an outstanding public school system and friendly, safe neighborhoods. Across the Wabash River, the City of Lafayette (population 67,140) is home to numerous neighborhood parks and the expansive Columbian Park with a water park, zoo, sculpture garden, baseball stadium and more. Our vibrant downtown features unique, locally owned shopping and dining venues. And our community's cultural opportunities include art and historical museums, theater, our own symphony and more.