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NSF Research Experience for Undergrads (REU)

Mentored summer research program for undergraduates

We are excited to confirm that the program will run in summer 2022!


Synthetic Biology Research Experience for Undergraduates (SynBREU)

We are looking for ten highly motivated students with an interest in research at the interface of biology, engineering, chemistry, math and physics to participate in the 2022 summer research program for undergraduates.
Download the program flyer

Printer-friendly program flyer 

About This Program

This is a ten-week program of mentored, research-intensive activities in the field of synthetic biology including:

Program Duration

The program will take place from June 20th – August 27th, 2022



This program is supported by the National Science Foundation. Participants will receive partial or full room and board, paid travel expenses for those not in the Chicagoland area, meal plan, and a $6,000 stipend.


How to Apply

Complete and submit the required online application. In the application, you will be asked to upload the following documents as PDFs:

Start the online application


Q: When will applications open?
A: The application site becomes available in January.

Q: My major is ____, will I be considered for this if I apply?
A: Yes! We ask about your field of study only to ensure that each cohort includes a diverse set of backgrounds, and no application will be declined simply because of major.

Q: I don't have previous research experience. Should I wait to apply until my resume is stronger?
A: No! Apply every year that you are eligible, if it is in line with your interests. We consider candidates with and without research experience, and at least half of our cohort will not have research opportunities at their home institution. This does not count against you, and conversely, those with experience are not favored or biased against either. We are looking for diverse backgrounds and training for each summer cohort. 

Q: If I am only able to participate for 8 weeks, could I still attend?
A: Unfortunately, no. You must be available to work on projects full-time for at least 9 weeks of Summer 2022, starting June 20th.

Q: Will this be a remote, hybrid, or on-campus opportunity?
A: We are currently working to make this an on-campus opportunity but recognize that with the changing circumstances this may become either hybrid (on-campus for some and remote for others) or fully remote. We will update the website with the latest information as we have it. If you have extenuating circumstances that would permit only your remote participation, please still apply but note this in your application.

Q: Who should write my letter of recommendation?
A: We encourage you to seek a letter from someone who can speak to your academic and/or professional work ethic and engagement. This can be a professor or supervisor. Please do not solicit recommendations from friends and relatives.

Contact Us

Please contact us with any question about the program at

Program Leadership

Program Director

Danielle Tullman-ErcekDanielle Tullman-Ercek

Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Email Danielle Tullman-Ercek

Phone: 847-491-7043 


Program Co-Director:

Gabriel RocklinGabe Rocklin

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

Email Gabe Rocklin


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