This REU Site award to Northeastern University, located in Boston, MA, will support the training of 10 students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2018- 2020. Undergraduates will participate in team-based interdisciplinary research across biological levels while exploring related research questions from different perspectives. While each participant will have a specific project with a mentor, participants will work in pairs with pairs of faculty advisors and other lab members. This program will encourage both scientific inquiry and professional development, promoting a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of life and also preparing students for advancement in research. Research project topics will be diverse (e.g., skin regeneration, microbial biofilm formation, social immunity, mitochondrial DNA inheritance, termite-mammalian fungal interactions). Student growth will be fostered by mentored group meetings as well as expert-led interactive sessions to improve leadership abilities and performance in research teams. Additional enrichment will include workshops on graduate studies, career opportunities, ethics and responsible conduct of research, and seminars exploring interdisciplinary themes. Each participant will present a poster of the individual project at a summer research symposium.

It is anticipated that a total of 30 students, primarily from schools with limited research opportunities, will be trained in the program. Among the target populations will be returning veterans and reservists enrolled in undergraduate STEM programs, and students underrepresented in the sciences including first generation college students and underrepresented minorities. Students will learn how research is conducted, and will be encouraged to present the results of their work at scientific conferences.

A common web-based assessment tool used by all REU Site programs funded by the Division of Biological Infrastructure will be used to determine the effectiveness of the training program. Students will be tracked after the program in order to determine their career paths. Students will be asked to respond to an automatic email sent via the NSF reporting system. More information about the program is available by visiting, or by contacting the PI (Dr. Wendy Smith at or the co-PI (Dr. Rebeca Rosengaus at

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Sally O'Connor
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Northeastern University
United States
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