Microbial Friends & Foes Research Experience for Undergraduates

Basic information

The emphasis of this program is on interactions of microbes with plants, but the students will gain experience in areas such as molecular biology, bioinformatics, evolution and genetics.

The Microbial Friends & Foes Research Experience for Undergraduates program provides training in the concepts and experimental approaches central to understanding microbial interactions with eukaryotic hosts. Students work with faculty mentors in the Section of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology (PPPMB). A common theme among research programs in PPPMB is investigation of interspecific interactions, both mutualistic and antagonistic.

Students learn about broad diversity of microbe-eukaryote interactions through conducting independent research projects, participation in weekly research group meetings, seminars presented by PPPMB faculty, Microbial Friends & Foes Synthesis Panels, and the Microbial Friends & Foes Symposium. Emphasis is placed on appreciation of scientific method and developing effective strategies for conducting research as well as on the synthesis of concepts important to interspecific interactions across diverse systems.

This educational experience is an excellent preparation for undergraduate students wishing to apply to graduate school and advance their careers in science. Individual student projects are designed so that they have the potential to be published as part of a larger project, in which case program participants are included as coauthors.

In addition to participating in the Microbial Friends & Foes REU program, students take part in professional development activities offered through the Summer Institute for Life Sciences by the Office of Undergraduate Biology.


Participants receive a competitive stipend of $5,000, travel assistance, meal allowance, and group housing in on-campus residence halls.


This year's application deadline has passed.

Applications are due by Wednesday January 20, 2016.

Applying to the Microbial Friends & Foes REU program is a two step process. It requires submitting an application package and requesting two letters of recommendation to be submitted on your behalf. Acceptance notifications will be issued by March 5, 2016.

Undergraduate applicants must be enrolled in a degree program in either a 2 year or 4 year college. Members of minorities underrepresented in science, undergraduates from small colleges, and first generation college students are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and be at least 18 years of age.

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