REU: Chemistry

We're engaged in cutting-edge research on the catalysts, drugs, nanomaterials, and sensors of the FUTURE!

Join our team and we'll make HISTORY!

For information contact

2016 Chemistry REU students.
2016 Chemistry REU students.

Application Dates

Nov 15 2016 App opens
February 1 Priority deadline
March 1 App closes
April 1 Decisions complete

Program Dates

June 4 2017 Arrival day
June 5 Program begins
August 9 Program ends
August 10 Departure day

Who should apply

Related fields

  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemical Engineering

This program encourages applications from students with sophomore or junior standing and those planning to pursue an advanced degree (M.S. or Ph.D.) upon completion of the bachelor's degree.


Participation in the Nebraska Summer Research Program is limited to students who meet the following criteria:
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Current undergraduate with at least one semester of coursework remaining before obtaining a bachelor's degree

See Eligibility for more information.

How to apply

Follow the application steps to submit the following materials.

About the Program

Our 10-week summer REU in Chemistry cultivates a learning environment that provokes students to ask, "What are the most important issues that face our society?" and then provides them with enough training that they can contribute to addressing those issues. Participants progress from undergraduate textbook learning to discovering and solving challenging research problems.

This REU offers a wide range of topics, including: organic radicals, biological mass spectrometry, NMR metabolomics, chemical biology, 3D printing, catalytic nanoparticles, biochemical sensors, amphiphilic linkers, drug-protein interactions, and graphene nanoribbons. The faculty mentors bring strong records of commitment to one-on-one mentoring of undergraduates in their research laboratories, and each brings their own multidisciplinary approach, specific research objectives, and experimental methods.

A summer scholar completes a task in her mentor's chemistry lab.
A summer scholar completes a task in her mentor's chemistry lab.

Students will learn and experience a wide range of communication skills during REU meetings, in mentor group meetings, career development seminars, social activities, and tours to local industries. The program concludes with students presenting their research findings at both a departmental poster session and a campus-wide poster symposium.


  • Competitive stipend: $5,000
  • Suite-style room and meal plan
  • Travel expenses to and from Lincoln
  • Campus parking and/or bus pass
  • Full access to the Campus Recreation Center and campus library system
  • Wireless internet access

Learn more about academic and financial benefits.


  • Campus and chemistry department orientation
  • Department seminars and presentations
  • Professional development workshops (e.g., applying to graduate school, taking the GRE)
  • Welcome picnic
  • Day trip to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
  • Canoe and camping trip
  • Research symposium

Mentors and Projects

Biological Mass Spectrometry

To learn how mass spectrometry, tandem mass spectrometry, and ion mobility spectrometry are used to study the structures of biomolecules, the student researcher will work to develop bioanalytical methods for the detailed molecular characterization of oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates.

Metabolic pathway engineering

The Du group seeks to elucidate the biosynthetic mechanism for two groups of natural products, food-borne mycotoxins and new antibiotics isolated from underexplored microbial species. REU students will isolate the products from microbial cultures and test activity of the products. They will also be involved in cloning and heterologously expressing the biosynthetic genes for in vitro studies.

Dr. Patrick Dussalt Organic and Materials

Synthesis of Functionalized Amphiphiles

The student working in this group will gain experience in the design, multi-step synthesis, isolation, characterization, and (with collaborators) application of new functionalized amphiphiles for use as bioconjugate linkers and/or nanomaterials coatings.

Developing Bioorthogonal Reactions for Biochemical Investigations in Living Cells

To learn how protein structure determines its function, the student researcher will use the multidisciplinary tools of molecular biology and bioorganic chemistry to add chemically modified unnatural amino acids to the genetic code of a bacterium so it synthesizes protein molecules modified at specific and relevant locations.

Rapid Analysis of Drug-Protein Interactions

To understand how drugs act on the body, the student will learn how to develop new analytical methods for studying the interaction between drugs and blood proteins. What are the driving forces for this interaction and how strong is it compared to a chemical bond?

Electrochemical Sensors Using Biomolecules

The student involved in this project will fabricate a paper-based single-use E-AB sensor for the detection of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in realistically complex media such as blood serum and plasma.

Materials Synthesis Using Systems with Reconfigurable Chemical and Physical Properties

This research utilizes rapid prototyping and fabrication techniques, such as 3D printing and soft lithography, surface-functionalization chemistry, solution-phase inorganic synthesis, and optical, electron, and X-ray microscopies and analytical methods.

Dr. Robert Powers Analytical and Biochemical

NMR Metabolomics

The student involved with this project will develop NMR-based methods to monitor changes in the metabolome (all the metabolites present in a cell, tissue, organ or organism) as a tool for systems biology, drug discovery and, for the discovery of disease biomarkers.

Organic Radicals for Organic Magnets, Spin Labels, and MRI Contrast Agents

To prepare the spin labels, students will learn how to synthesize stable organic radicals. Free radicals are typically highly reactive, why then are some radicals such as nitroxides persistent and how to make them more stable?

Bottom-up Synthesis of Graphene Nanoribbons

To investigate emerging two-dimensional materials, such as graphene and transition metal chalcogenides, for electronics, photonics, sensors, and energy storage, the student will synthesize these materials and study their properties.

Chemosensors for Real-time Analysis of Protein Kinase Enzymatic Activity

To allow monitoring of the precise spatial and temporal locations for proteins involved in cell motility, students will modify genes so they are specially labeled.

Metal-organic Frameworks and Porous-organic Frameworks as Photocatalysts for Organic Synthesis​

To synthesize new catalysts for use in energy production and energy storage, students will prepare nanomaterials with designed shapes and composition.