REU: Chemical Assembly


For information contact

Mark Griep

Funding Source

NSF 2147939

See Projects

Chemistry REU students at the Welcome picnic.
Chemistry REU students at the Welcome picnic.

Who should apply

Related fields

  • Chemistry
  • Chemical Biology
  • 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 and to communicate what they’ve learned. Participants progress from undergraduate textbook learning to discovering and solving challenging research problems.

This REU offers a wide range of topics, including organic radicals, biochemical sensors, chemical biology, catalytic nanoparticles, drug-protein interactions, graphene nanoribbons, green chemistry, metabolomics, organic synthesis, and mechanically-responsive materials. 

The faculty advisors 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, 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: $6,000
  • 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 and Aquarium
  • Outdoor adventures
  • Research symposium

Mentors and Projects

Neuropeptide-receptor interactions

The student will synthesize and evaluate novel analogues of neuropeptides for their ability to activate neuropeptide receptors. The student will develop new chemistry for the covalent capture of neuropeptide receptors, with the goal of identifying new therapeutic targets for disease.

Degradation of organic chemicals by plasma activated water

The REU student will learn how to apply cold plasma to produce plasma activated water for the remediation of harmful organic chemicals in aqueous media. Experimental data of reaction products and kinetics will be analyzed to study the degradation mechanisms of targeted organic chemicals by the plasma treatment process.

Discovery of new antibiotics

To fight against multidrug-resistant pathogens, REU students will learn how to isolate and identify new bioactive natural products from underexplored microorganisms. They will be exposed to techniques in microbial fermentation, metabolite analysis, biosynthetic gene deletion, cloning and expression, enzyme activity assay, and metabolic engineering.

Investigations of iron/peroxide reactivity: Beyond the Fenton reaction

The REU participant will explore further applications of this chemistry, including applications to non-peroxide substrates. Recent research in our group (Olson et al. (2018) ACS Omega 3, 14054–14063) has found that complexes derived from iron salts and thiols are able to catalyze the reductive cleavage of a wide range of organic peroxides. 

Laser Spectroscopy of Halide Perovskite Semiconductors

The REU student will learn how to grow halide perovskite crystals and use novel laser spectroscopy and optical microscopy to measure atomic motions in the semiconductor crystal lattices. Experimental data will be used to study how unique atomic motions in advanced materials define their optoelectronic properties.

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.

Electrochemical sensors using biomolecules

The student involved in this project will fabricate paper-based E-AB sensors for real time detection of neurochemicals in realistically complex media such as cerebrospinal fluid. 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.

Adaptive surfaces with stimuli-responsive 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.

Metabolomics for systems biology, drug discovery and disease diagnosis

To develop NMR- and MS-based metabolomics technology that are coupled to NMR and bioinformatics methodologies to explore the structure, function, and evolution of proteins to aid in the discovery of new drugs and therapeutic targets.

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.

Mass Spectrometry of Ribosomes as an Antibiotic Target

The student will learn to culture cells and then isolate & characterize ribosomes by native mass spectrometry and top-down proteomics. The results will elucidate how ribosome structure modulates protein synthesis and possibly reveal novel targets for drug development. 

Synthesis and characterization of 2D materials

The student will synthesize emerging two-dimensional materials, such as graphene and transition metal chalcogenides, and investigate their electronic applications.