This award establishes a new Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site at Ohio State University to fund on-campus research experiences for students in STEM, with a specific focus in the fields of biomechanics and mechano-biology (BMMB). The growing interdisciplinary field of BMMB unites an understanding of the complex and unusual mechanical behavior and response exhibited by biological systems with an increasing number of applications in healthcare. The BUCKEYE REU Site will provide opportunities for a diverse cohort of undergraduates from groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering to conduct novel, cutting-edge research with faculty mentors from Biomedical, Materials Science or Mechanical Engineering. The research experience provided by the REU Site will not only help advance the field of BMMB but also will provide students with an independent fundamental and/or translational research experience.

This REU Site will provide ten undergraduates an exciting summer research experience that will prepare and motivate them for further education and careers in BMMB and engineering as well as advance and support novel biomedical engineering and science research. The REU mentor faculty, employ a number of state-of-the-art experimental and computational tools in BMMB research to examine a diverse set of biological sample types across various length scales. REU students will participate in and learn to conduct hands on research in conjunction with both faculty and near-peer graduate student mentors. Along with their comprehension of, contribution to and advancement of ongoing research in the lab, students will learn hypothesis generation and applications of BMMB in medicine and healthcare. Through their engagement in weekly journal clubs and presentations of their research during a symposium and/or a national meeting as well as clinical and research facility tours, students will become stronger communicators. By participating in weekly professional development workshops and interacting with research ambassadors and faculty mentors, students will gain a better understanding of how to prepare for, apply to, and succeed in graduate school, enhance their technical comprehension and communication skills and pursue careers in BMMB and engineering research. Because it is expected that the majority of these students will pursue a graduate degree they will continue to advance knowledge, serve as role models for future students from underrepresented groups, and diversify the STEM workforce. Graduate students and faculty mentors involved in mentoring the REU participants will also benefit by enhancing their skills in working with a diverse workforce. Outreach activity to an underserved local middle school will help attract future generations to research in BMMB and BME.

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.

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Ohio State University
United States
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