This award will establish an REU Site at the University of California-Riverside (UCR) dubbed BRITE@UCR (Bioengineering Research Institute for Technical Excellence). The program will engage 16 undergraduate students each year for three years in a 10-week summer research experience. The research focus is in the areas of BioCellular Engineering and Bioengineering. In this REU program, not only will participating students be directly involved in cutting-edge research, but they will also develop the basic skill sets needed to analytically evaluate and disseminate their findings in an accountable and professional manner. Such skill sets will include research design, literature searches, use of laboratory equipment, laboratory research techniques, analytical thinking, and an appreciation for accountability, ethics and written and oral presentation. Also, the program will include a module concerning "real-world" ethics in research and the UCR Graduate Division will provide participants with guidance on preparation for graduate school and the graduate experience.
Broader impacts of the program include the following: 1) contribute to advancing the state of science in important research fields; 2) encourage community college students to pursue bachelors degrees; 3)encourage students at undergraduate institutions, and undergraduates at UCR, to pursue graduate degrees; 4) expose students from a number of non-research-intensive institutions to a rich and diverse research environment; and 5) strengthen a culture of providing undergraduate research opportunities throughout UCR science and engineering programs. Many of the undergraduate students will be recruited from nearby accredited Minority Institutions and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).