This award from the Division of Chemistry (CHE) and the NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Program support a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site at the University of Puerto Rico-RÃo Piedras entitled, "PR-CLIMB (Puerto Rico-Chemical Learning in Materials and Biomolecular applications)" The PR-CLIMB REU Site is developed by Professors Arthur D. Tinoco and Professor Dalice M. PiÃ±ero Cruz who seek to provide undergraduate students a research experience that capitalizes on the academic and professional strengths of the university and Puerto Rico at large. As a minority-serving institution, the site offers a unique experience to a diverse set of students recruited from 2-year and 4-year institutions. In this nine-week program, students engage in fundamental studies of materials and biomolecules for potential applications in water purification, energy storage, sensing, drug design, and drug delivery. Students also are exposed to a variety of techniques in seminars and seven hands-on workshops that develop their skill sets in the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals fields. The REU site develops well-rounded students with strong communication skills who are able to become self-sufficient researchers and productive citizens.
The PR-CLIMB REU Site provides undergraduate students with high caliber interdisciplinary research experiences that inspire interest in Chemistry graduate programs and also in the Puerto Rican biotechnology and pharmaceutical job markets as a viable career opportunity. To overcome a current economic crisis in Puerto Rico, it is a priority to provide a first-rate intellectual experience that demonstrates the quality of the university's resources and the island's job opportunities. Ten students conduct research in a diverse set of laboratories focusing on fundamental studies of materials and biomolecules that are engineered for applications in water purification, energy storage, sensing, drug design, and drug delivery. Through seven hands-on workshops, students obtain a broad training on biomolecular synthesis, chemical fractionation, purity assessment, activity assays, and characterization via spectral, structural, and electrochemical approaches. Seminars are offered on ethics in research, strategies for producing high quality research and public presentations, and funding opportunities for graduate work. In addition, professionals in academia and industry discuss their respective job fields.