REU: Chemical Assembly



For information contact

Mark Griep

See Projects
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 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, metabolomics, protein-RNA interactions, and RNA structure. 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.

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


  • 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.

Catalyzed hydrogenation of carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons

The student will simulate cold plasma chemical reactions for the conversion of CO2 and H2 in a dielectric barrier discharge plasma reactor. The collected information will be applied to design a set of differential equations to yield information on the types, temporal, and spatial concentrations of chemical species during the plasma reactions. These predictions will be evaluated against experimental findings to provide insights into the reaction mechanisms.

RNA folding, ligand recognition, and function

The student will investigate how RNA folding is linked with function using biophysical and chemical biology approaches. The student will learn how to prepare RNA samples, evaluate folding, and perform ligand binding assays. Results will be modeled using PyMol and other programs to provide insights into essential elements required for RNA folding and function.

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.

Characterizing student engagement in argument from evidence

The student will analyze written and discursive arguments constructed by students. The student will then carry out multivariate analysis to elicit patterns in students’ participation in the science practice.

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.

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.