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, natural products biosynthesis, 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.
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
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. Eric Dodds
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. Patrick Dussault
Investigations of iron/peroxide reactivity: Beyond the Fenton reaction
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. The REU participant will explore further applications of this chemistry, including applications to non-peroxide substrates.
Dr. Mark Griep
Enzymology of primase and helicase
The student working in this group will gain experience in site mutagenesis, protein purification, and enzyme assays to understand how primase and helicase interact during DNA replication.
Dr. David Hage
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
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
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
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. Robert Powers
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.
Dr. Andrzej Rajca
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
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. Cliff Stains
Bioprobes of cellular signaling events
REU students will develop chemical biology tools (solid-phase peptide synthesis, peptide synthesis, fluorophore synthesis, fluorescence assays, enzyme kinetics, and mammalian cell culture) to decipher inter- and intra-cellular communication via fluorescence-based sensors such as a phosphorylation-sensitive sulfonamide-oxine (Sox).
Dr. Marilyne Stains
Education research about effective instructional practices
To understand how chemistry instructors learn and implement new evidence-based teaching practices, the REU student will learn how to analyze surveys, classroom videos, and interviews.