REU: Chemical Assembly at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln



For information contact

Parker Robinson [staff - Recruiting & Communications Coordinator] Parker Robinson 402-472-4453
Anna Diepenbrock, former Chem REU student and current Chemistry graduate student, discusses her research poster during the Mock Symposium.
Anna Diepenbrock, former Chem REU student and current Chemistry graduate student, discusses her research poster during the Mock Symposium.

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, chemical education research, chemical biology, 3D printing, catalytic nanoparticles, biochemical sensors, natural products biosynthesis, lead halide perovskites, drug-protein interactions, graphene nanoribbons, and RNA-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.

2019 Chemistry REU students at the end-of-the-summer banquet.
2019 Chemistry REU students at the end-of-the-summer banquet.

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
  • Outdoor adventures
  • Research symposium

Mentors and Projects

Dr. David Berkowitz Chemistry

Enzymology/Organic Synthesis Interface

The group utilizes enzymes to enhance organic synthesis, often to control stereochemistry, and develops mechanism- and structure-based enzyme inhibitors. REU students learn how to express, purify, and assay enzymes.

Dr. James Checco Chemistry

Intercellular signaling via neuropeptides and peptide hormones

Students will learn the chemical synthesis of peptides, purification by high-performance liquid chromatography, cell-based assays to examine function, and characterization by mass spectrometry.

Dr. Barry Cheung Chemistry

Catalyzed hydrogenation of carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons

Students will learn how to prepare nano-structured metal oxides and investigate plasma-catalytic reactions as a function of catalyst composition, reaction parameters, and plasma characteristics.

Dr. Eric Dodds Chemistry

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.

Dr. Catherine Eichhorn Chemistry

RNA structural dynamics and RNA-protein recognition

Students will learn RNA synthesis, protein expression and purification, RNA-protein binding assays, and structural characterization using solution state NMR spectroscopy.

Dr. Jiantao Guo Chemistry

Expanding the genetic code to include quadruplet codons

Students will incorporate non-natural amino acids site-specifically into proteins in live cells using molecular cloning, protein engineering through directed evolution, and protein biochemistry.

Dr. Yinsheng Guo Chemistry

Laser spectroscopy of advanced materials

Students will study lead halide perovskites, an emerging class of materials with photovoltaic and optoelectronic applications, using novel laser spectroscopy and optical microscopy to measure atomic motion in crystal lattices as well as to alter charge carrier behaviors and solid-state chemistry. 

Dr. David Hage Chemistry

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. REU students learn about bioconjugation, liquid chromatography, absorbance, fluorescence, mass spectrometry, and protein assays.

Dr. Rebecca Lai Chemistry

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. REU students learn to prepare gold-plated screen-printed carbon electrodes, characterize them by SEM, study sensor response as a function of analyte concentration, and investigate matrix effects on sensor performance.

Dr. Alena Moon Chemistry

Using the photoelectric effect to explore students’ conceptions of light

To understand how chemistry students understand light and its interaction with matter, the REU student will conduct and analyze qualitative interviews with students about the photoelectric effect.

Dr. Stephen A. Morin Chemistry

Reconfigurable objects with engineered properties

REU students learn how to make materials with surface-chemical, micro-structural, and solid/liquid interfacial characteristics that are reversibly modified using stimuli such as mechanical deformation that are then analyzed using optical, electron, and X-ray microscopies and analytical methods.

Dr. Andrzej Rajca Chemistry

Organic radicals for organic magnets, spin labels, MRI contrast agents, and spin labeled amino acids

REU students learn to synthesize very high-spin organic molecules and polymers with a focus on stable radicals and high-spin polyradicals for use in supra-molecular templates.

Dr. Alexander Sinitskii Chemistry

Synthesis and characterization of 2D materials

To investigate emerging two-dimensional materials, such as graphene and transition metal chalcogenides, for electronic applications; the student will synthesize these materials and study their properties.

Dr. Joseph Yesselman Chemistry

Rational design of RNA nanostructures

Students will learn how to design new RNA nanostructures using the lab' s software and determine if their designs were accurate using PCR, in vitro transcription, RNA structural probing, and next-generation DNA sequencing.