This REU Site award to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, will provide research training for eight students for ten weeks during the summers of 2018- 2020. The program provides advanced training in the analysis of protein function. It facilitates detailed understanding of experimental laboratory research, insights into protein biochemistry and appreciation for the broader context of research. Projects mentored by faculty in the Department of Biochemistry include analysis of enzyme mechanisms, post-translational protein modifications, proteomics, and protein-nucleic acid interactions studied in a wide range of biological contexts including cell cycle control, epigenetic gene regulation and plant development. A three-day orientation will introduce key concepts in protein biochemistry and experimental design. The remainder of the program will emphasize full-time research supplemented with weekly sessions on ethical conduct in research, professional communication and the graduate school application process. Students will present their results at a departmental symposium and a university-wide poster session. The program will recruit life science and chemistry undergraduates with at least four semesters of college who have an interest in research. Selection of participants will be based on academic performance, demonstrated interest in research, and the potential for outstanding research careers in the life sciences.

It is anticipated that a total of 24 students, primarily from schools with limited research opportunities, will be trained in the program with additional emphasis on recruiting students from groups that are underrepresented in the life sciences. Students will learn how research is conducted, improve their scientific communication skills and many will 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. Additional assessments on student poster presentations will be performed. Students will be tracked after the program in order to determine their career paths and will be asked to respond to an automatic email sent via the NSF reporting system. More information is available by visiting, or by contacting the PI (Dr. James Forney 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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Purdue University
West Lafayette
United States
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