Faculty-Led Authentic Research Experience (FLARE)

IDEA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence

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, NSC or TMCC, as well as 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 $3,000 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.


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 2022 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.



  • 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 Christy Song and she 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.

UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: Please attach your unofficial transcript in a your single PDF upload along with your personal statement.

Submit your application here by February 25, 2022 at 11:59PM.

Questions can be directed to garfieldj@med.unr.edu or cmsong@med.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.

Fang Jiang Lab (UNR): Various methods involved in studying brain plasticity including in special populations. We are currently running studies investigating the link between multisensory processing and postural control.

Cory Rusinek Lab (UNLV): We are an electroanalytical research group that focuses on developing detection systems for in situ measurements in a variety of media. There are 3 major research thrusts in my group - 1) biomedical, 2) nuclear energy, and 3) environmental analysis. Within the biomedical research area, we are currently working on detection of hydrogen peroxide and peroxynitrite with microelectrodes. Our hopes are that this research will further understanding of the role of oxidative stress at the cellular level.

Subhash Verma Lab (UNR): We are a virology lab and work with different viruses including human coronaviruses at BSL2 lab. Protein-protein interaction, reporter assay protein functions etc.

Joanna Blaszczak Lab (UNR): We primarily study controls on water quality in rivers and streams using a combination of sensors in the field, laboratory measurements of water and sediment chemistry, as well as a lot of computer coding. We would be excited to welcome any student who is interested in working on research related to streams and water quality! 

Andrew Nuss Lab (UNR): Research in the Nuss lab focuses on the physiology of insect neuropeptides and peptide hormones of the gut and their role in insect behavior, digestion, and nutrient storage. This work serves as a basis for new insecticide discovery by targeting peptide receptors for control of disease vectors and crop pests. In addition, our lab is leading efforts to characterize and modify mosquito odorant receptors that facilitate their choice of humans as hosts, in order to direct them to other animals in the environment and break human-mosquito-human disease transmission cycles.

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.

Graham McGinnis Lab (UNLV): My lab uses animal and human models to study basic questions in exercise physiology and chronobiology. In particular, I am interested in how exercise timing and circadian preferences may interact to modulate the molecular response to exercise and the clinical application of exercise.  

Ricardo Panella Lab (DRI-Reno): The focus of this lab is bench-to-bedside research that leads to the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat both cancers and metabolic conditions. Our expertise lies in the applications of non-coding RNA as a therapeutic target and as a cutting- edge technology for developing new therapeutic paradigms.

Steven Frese Lab (UNR):My research group studies the human gut microbiome and how it interacts with our diet/nutrition to influence health. We primarily focus on infants and preterm infants and how to improve their health via nutritional interventions while in the hospital, for preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We are also exploring how diet and lifestyle/health/demographics shape the gut microbiome of Nevadans so we can compare the general population to clinically underserved populations and advance therapies to address unmet needs.

Jeffery Shen Lab (UNLV): My research focus on development of databases and bioinformatics tools for genome analyses and gene annotations, predictions of genes responsive to environmental/developmental cues, and predictions of gene functions (subcellular localization, and protein motifs). Another focus of my research is the molecular mechanism controlling plant responses to abiotic stresses, seed dormancy and germination. I am also interested in the mechanism underlying tissue-specific and developmentally-regulated gene expression.

Kelly Tseng Lab (UNLV): The Kelly Tseng lab is interested in studying the biology of tissue and organ regeneration. We pursue these studies using the powerful and well-characterized vertebrate model, the clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. Using interdisciplinary approaches (including molecular, chemical-genetic, physiological, and in vivo imaging tools), we seek to understand the biochemical and bioelectrical control of animal regeneration. In the long term, our goal is to build a blueprint for organ regeneration and to apply this knowledge towards developing novel therapeutics for regenerative medicine.