REU: Chemistry

Updates for Summer 2016 coming soon

Some details currently appearing on this site are still for Summer 2015. By mid-November we'll have our Summer 2016 updates in place, ready for you to browse and apply!

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!
Pending funding approval

For information contact

Recruiting Staff Assistant
(402) 472-2977
2014 Chemistry REU students
2014 Chemistry REU students

Application Dates

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

Program Dates

June 7 Arrival day
June 8 Program begins
August 12 Program ends
August 13 Departure day

Who should apply

Related fields

  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Sciences
  • 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

The Chemistry REU is focused on curiosity driven basic research. As such, the projects are specifically tailored to stimulate student curiosity by provoking students to ask "Why?" and "How?" about their research. Participants will progress from undergraduate textbook learning to discovering and solving challenging research problems during the 10-week program.

This REU offers a wide range of topics, including: organic radicals, medical imaging agents, protein-DNA interactions, enzyme-assisted organic synthesis, catalytic nanoparticles, synthesis of algal quorum-sensing molecules, and drug-protein interactions. 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.

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

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


  • Competitive stipend: $5,000
  • Double-occupancy 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


  • 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
Learn more about academic and financial benefits.

2015 Mentors and Projects

Eric Dodds, Ph.D. Analytical and Biochemical

Biological Mass Spectrometry
To characterize complex covalent and noncovalent biochemical interactions, the student will learn how to amplify DNA, isolate proteins, or study protein glycosylation.

Liangcheng Du, Ph.D. Biochemical and Organic

Metabolic Pathway Engineering
The goal of this project is to elucidate the biosynthetic mechanism for two groups of natural products, food-borne mycotoxins and new antibiotics isolated from underexplored microbial species

Jiantao Guo, Ph.D. Biochemical and Organic

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.

David Hage, Ph.D. Analytical and Biochemical

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?

Rebecca Lai, Ph.D. Analytical and Biochemical

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.

Stephen A. Morin, Ph.D. Analytical and Inorganic

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.Read more about this project

Robert Powers, Ph.D. 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.

Andrzej Rajca, Ph.D. Organic

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?

Alexander Sinitskii, Ph.D. Inorganic

Bottom-up Synthesis of Graphene Nanoribbons
To create materials with new properties for electronics, photonics, sensors, and energy storage, the student will synthesize new types of carbon nanotubes and modified graphene.

Cliff Stains, Ph.D. Biochemical and Organic

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.

Jian Zhang, Ph.D. Inorganic and Organic

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.