Undergraduate Research Programs

Student Training Programs

Researcher in lab

Nevada INBRE offers two exciting opportunities for undergraduates to have a hands-on laboratory experience in an emerging field of biomedical science such as genomics, proteomics, biological imaging, bioinformatics, or any field of research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

INBRE will select recipients for awards for students to work with a faculty mentor on a research project. An INBRE summer research experience will enrich your science education, allow you to gain first-hand knowledge about a scientific career, and will give you a competitive edge on graduate school, medical school and job applications. UROP projects often lead to longer term collaborations, publishable research, and careers in medicine or biomedical research.

Due to the situation with COVID-19, we have had to make some difficult decisions regarding the NV INBRE Summer Research programs. 

We will be converting the UROP program to an academic year experience, and we will be attempting to create a FLARE program experience during the academic year as well (dependent on mentor availability).  We will review the submitted applications and have award notices sent by June 1, 2020.  Further details about these programs will be communicated directly with the applicants and their mentors. 

Please know that the Administrative Core made this difficult decision after studying the CDC projections for COVID-19 infections, the current hiring freeze across NSHE, and after much deliberation about the safety of the students and their contacts.



Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

Program Compensation

The UROP Program is INBRE's flagship undergraduate research program where junior and senior level students work on an independent research project for 10 weeks over the summer.  This program provides student recipients with an award of $6,000 as a summer student worker, and each mentor receives $600 to defray the cost of lab supplies. Because all recipients will be immersed in time-intensive research, participants are not allowed to be engaged in other course work or employment during the 10 week research period.

Program Guidelines

  • Research projects will begin in early June and include 10-week, full-time, independent research. The mentor must be present during the entire program or the student may become ineligible.
  • Students are required to attend an orientation which includes a required laboratory safety class.
  • Students are required to attend a series of seminars and workshops focused on assisting students planning to pursuing biomedical research careers.
  • All students will present their research project at an undergraduate poster session and the NV INBRE Statewide Annual Meeting in August.

Eligibility

Students must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. citizens or have a valid employment authorization document (EAD) permitting you to work in the U.S. (DACA students are eligible)
  • Continuing student enrolled in Fall 2020 classes. You are not eligible if graduating in May 2020.
  • 3.0 minimum GPA
  • Undergraduates enrolled at UNR, UNLV, NSC, CSN, GBC, TMCC, SNU or WNC, OR students from Western IDeA states (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico or Wyoming).  Students from other states referred by the Institute for Neuroscience may still apply, regardless of location.
  • Priority is given to underrepresented/educationally disadvantaged students.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have not received an INBRE UROP award in the past.

Application

**PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE APPLYING**

  • Once you begin the online UROP application, you can save it and go back in to add information.
  • You will need the name and email for your mentor. The application will automatically send them a link to the reference form to fill out. All references need to be submitted directly by the mentor by the application deadline. Your references will not receive the link to the reference form until your application is fully submitted. Please be sure to allow enough time for your references to complete the reference form. If your reference does not receive the link, please contact Jessica Garfield or Alex Martinez and we can send them a link directly.  If you list your own email in the mentor recommendation section, your application will not be considered.
  • Before you begin, you must have your personal statement and project proposal in a single PDF format to upload.

PERSONAL STATEMENT: Please note the applicable requirements depending on your current institution.

  • UNLV/UNR and NSC Students with a Mentor and Project ONLY: Please describe a) your academic background, b) scientific interests, c) any past research experience, and d) what you hope to gain from the research experience. Do not exceed one page.
  • Students from Outreach Institutions, Western region states, or other states ONLY: Please upload a personal statement (not to exceed 2 pages) that includes your academic background and research interests, and what you hope to will be gained from this research experience. If you are selected for this award, you will be matched with an appropriate faculty mentor for a lab experience.  The NV INBRE is only able to provide the $6,000 research award, and you will need to check with your home programs for assistance with travel and housing.

PROJECT PROPOSAL: (UNLV/UNR/NSC Students ONLY): Please create a brief research proposal that is approved by the faculty mentor. The proposal should be a concise statement including a clear hypothesis to be tested or questions to be asked. Do not exceed two pages.

ALL STUDENTS: UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: Due to FERPA regulations, we are not permitted to accept your transcript electronically. You will need to submit your unofficial transcript via U.S. Mail to the INBRE Administration (address in application). Transcripts must be postmarked by March 30, 2019.

The UROP application is now closed.

Questions can be directed to alexmartinez@unr.edu

Faculty-Led Authentic Research Experience (FLARE)

Program Compensation

This program is designed for undergraduate students, who are not ready to apply for the traditional UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program) experience, but wish to gain a mentored, authentic research experience. The program will last approximately 5 weeks and will involve a mentored research experience in a lab at UNR or TMCC, a responsible conduct of research seminar and tours of various labs, the medical school, the PA school, and much more! Dorm housing will be provided for out of area students and each student selected for a FLARE fellowship will receive $2,500 in compensation as a student worker for their research period.

Program Guidelines

  • Research projects will begin in early June and include 5-week, full-time, research and educational experience. 
  • Students will be assigned to a faculty mentor on campus who will lead you through an authentic research experience.
  • Students are required to attend an orientation which includes a required laboratory safety class, as well as seminars and tours
  • Students are required to attend a series of seminars and workshops focused on assisting students planning to pursuing biomedical research careers.

Eligibility

Students must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. citizens or have a valid employment authorization document (EAD) permitting you to work in the U.S. (DACA students are eligible)
  • Continuing student enrolled in Fall 2020 classes. 
  • 3.0 minimum GPA
  • Undergraduates enrolled at NSC, CSN, GBC, TMCC, SNU or WNC 
  • Priority is given to underrepresented/educationally disadvantaged students.

Acceptance of this award may impact a student's income level to a degree that could affect eligibility for student loans, and other scholarship/fellowship opportunities. If an applicant has any concerns in this area, it is the student's duty to consult with a campus financial aid advisor. The University does not provide tax advice. If you have questions about possible tax liabilities, you may refer to the IRS web site.

Application

**PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE APPLYING**

  • Once you begin the online FLARE application, you can save it and go back in to add information.
  • You will need the name and email for your reference. The application will automatically send them a link to the reference form to fill out. All references need to be submitted directly by the author by the application deadline. Your references will not receive the link to the reference form until your application is fully submitted. Please be sure to allow enough time for your references to complete the reference form. If your reference does not receive the link, please contact Jessica Garfield or Alex Martinez and we can send them a link directly.
  • Before you begin, you must have your personal statement in a single PDF format to upload.

PERSONAL STATEMENT: Please describe a) your academic background, b) scientific interests, c) any past research experience, and d) what you hope to gain from the research experience. Do not exceed two pages.

ALL STUDENTS: UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: Due to FERPA regulations, we are not permitted to accept your transcript electronically. You will need to submit your unofficial transcript via U.S. Mail to the INBRE Administration (address in application). Transcripts must be postmarked by March 30, 2019.

The FLARE application is now closed.

Questions can be directed to alexmartinez@unr.edu

FLARE Placement Opportunities

Below are a list of labs willing to accept FLARE students to give you an idea of the types of research available.

Sal Baker Lab (UNR): My Lab has focused on studying motor neurotransmission from peripheral nerves and smooth muscle physiology, specifically through studies of gastrointestinal (GI) and bladder muscles and emphasis on interstitial cells and mechanisms that generate and regulate motility. A major developmental effort of the lab has been to apply imaging techniques to view Ca2+ dynamics of specific types of cells in situ. By imaging cells in situ it is possible to define their responses to substances actually released from innervating neurons. Optogenetic approaches, monitoring muscle contraction and developing new methods for data analysis are major methods utilized in the lab.

Yong Zhang Lab (UNR): We are mainly using fruit flies as a model to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms and sleep. Fly stock maintenance, fly behavior and genetics, regular molecular biology methods will be used.

Maryam Raeeszadeh-Sarmazdeh Lab (UNR): We are interested in protein engineering and design to develop novel therapeutics, drug delivery, biosensing, and biocatalysis tools and products. We use both rational and combinatorial protein engineering techniques to create new bioengineering tools and develop designer protein scaffolds and smart protein assemblies with applications in biomedical, biomaterial, bioimaging, and bioenergy.

Bob Renden Lab (UNR): We use a combination of protein detection, fluorescence imaging and electrophysiology to better understand chemical neurotransmission between neurons in the brain.

Yftah Tal-Gan Lab (UNR): Research in the Tal-Gan lab focuses on the development of chemical-based tools to study important biological questions with potential therapeutic implications. We utilize peptides and their analogs as probes to study quorum sensing and other forms of cell-cell communication among oral streptococci. Peptides developed by our research group can be utilized as potential novel drug-leads to help combat multi-drug resistant pathogens.

Nicholas Murray Lab (UNR):  Sport-related concussion research that involved hands on patient care and more advanced neuroscience investigations.

Marian Berryhill Lab (UNR): Various methods involved in studying executive function - including in special populations. We are currently running studies investigating the lasting cognitive consequences of concussion.

Lars Strother Lab (UNR): The Strother lab studies visual perception and object recognition using behavioral and neuroimaging (fMRI) experiments on human subjects. Our lab focus on the visual recognition of commonplace visual "objects" such as faces and words. In addition to studying the normal function of the visual system, we also study impairments of visual function during object recognition, and its relationship to brain development and developmental dyslexia.

Ruben Dagda Lab (UNR Med): I am currently performing basic and preclinical research in brain degenerative diseases. I am currently investigating why and how neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine lose energy and die during the progression of Parkinson's disease. Specifically, my research group uses animal models and cell culture models to understand how neurons lose their connections and why the energy centers, termed mitochondria, collapse and lose the ability to produce energy in the brain. In addition, we are screening for drugs and natural compounds that can slow or reverse the course of Parkinson's disease in mouse and rat models of Parkinson's disease. Another area of research is to understand how protein aggregates, termed beta amyloid, accumulate in neurons during the progression of Alzheimer' disease, and adversely affect the structure and function of mitochondria. Moreover, we are trying to understand how increasing protective signaling in the brain can protect neurons against beta amyloid accumulation and protect mitochondria during the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Bradley Ferguson Lab (UNR): My lab is focused on better understanding the role for post-translational modifications, in particular lysine acetylation, in the regulation of signal transduction, contractile function, and muscle remodeling. In particular, my lab examines how changes in protein acetylation alters muscle structure and function that leads to cardiac and skeletal muscle disease.

Cam Tran Lab (UNR Med): Our research focuses on neurovascular coupling and blood flow regulation in the brain. Our laboratory utilizes two-photon laser scanning fluorescence microscope to detect real time neural and vascular activity at the cellular level. To complement the in vivo model, we also utilize ex vivo model including brain slices and isolated vessels. Our goal is to uncover the mechanistic basis of the neurovascular coupling process and how the integrated signals between neurons, astrocytes and blood vessels become deregulated in diseases.

Amber Howerton Lab (NSC): **Please note that dorm housing is not available for this lab at Nevada State College and you will be responsible for your own housing/transportation.** Dr. Howerton is a multidisciplinary biochemist with research interests in: medicinal chemistry, pathogenic microbiology and inflammatory diseases of the skin. She primarily studies spore germination and anti-germination therapy in the hospital-acquired bacterium, Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) and the potential bioweapon, Bacillus anthracis, Anthrax. Dr. Howerton is also interested in natural and semi-synthetic anti-inflammatory compounds as potential topical agents to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Ongoing projects include: molecular analysis of anthrax germination requirements, germination kinetics, structure activity analyses of natural and semi-synthetic compounds on the psoriasis disease cascade, and identifying C. difficile in domestic canines.

Biomedical Pipeline Programs in Nevada

What TMCC is doing with outreach programs:
Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC)
  • Success First Summer Bridge program. This program, leveraged by approximately ten funding sources including TMCC, exposes underrepresented incoming high school graduates to STEM/Biomedical careers while providing tutoring and remedial math and English support prior to the start of the first semester.
  • BioResearch summer workshop. TMCC will also continue its highly-successful BioResearch summer workshop with a new and innovative focus on developing and engaging students in research projects or components that can proceed in remote, online or virtual environments, such as data mining of genomic data or publicly available community health information. This also opens new doors for students and faculty in rural or frontier locations across the state, such as tribal communities.
  • CUREs. TMCC has already implemented several successful CUREs, a microbiology (BIOL 251) cure that incorporates bacteriophage research into the curriculum. TMCC will introduce a new CURE associated with an Introductory Cell and Molecular Biology laboratory (BIOL 190) focused on exploring protein structure-function relationships.
  • Collaboration with DRI. TMCC also plans to further support and expand undergraduate research on campus and will develop collaborations with DRI for students to conduct mentored research at this world-class research facility located within walking distance (right next door) of the main TMCC Dandini campus.

Other Summer Research Opportunities