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REU Program Activities

Prior to the start of the program, students will be contacted by their faculty mentors and will be sent background reading materials about their research projects.

Initial activities:

On the first morning of the program, the students and REU program leaders meet for an overview of the program objectives and activities Jane Jackman and Anna Dobritsa, followed by a campus tour and presentations about lab safety. Students will meet with their faculty mentors for an informal lunch. The first part of week one will include an introductory workshop. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows (under the supervision of participating faculty) will provide a set of lectures and hands-on training in basic methodologies like pipetting skills, protein/nucleic acid isolation and quantitation, PCR-based amplification, notebook maintenance, preparing visual aids etc. 

Laboratory research:

Students will conduct nine weeks of laboratory research. Mentoring faculty are all committed to using model organisms and molecular biology techniques to address basic scientific questions that may also have impacts on human society, health, and agriculture. Students will work closely with a faculty mentor as well as with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and/or technicians in respective labs. These interactions will be especially important as the student is introduced to the theoretical background of the research problem that is being investigated, learns the basic procedures and experimental strategies, and begins to perform experiments. REU students will meet frequently with the faculty advisor. During these meetings, the REU student will be provided with and will discuss background material that is relevant to the research problem. The student will be assisted with the planning and performance of the experiment, the analysis of the results and the design of subsequent experiments. As the student gains experience, he/she will be expected to assume greater independence in planning, performing and interpreting the results of each experiment and in reading the scientific literature.

Developing as a science communicator:

Communication skills are critical for current and future scientists, and strong communication skills facilitate entry into a diverse set of possible careers. REU students will complete training in scientific writing and communication designed to deepen their understanding of their own work, and to help them communicate their enthusiasm to diverse groups of people. Expert advice will be offered by the Ohio State Writing Center to help students learn to present scientific information to a wide variety of audiences, from their family and friends, to their scientific peers.

Discussions and field trips:

REU students will engage in several other activities that will help broaden their horizons and experience. Two sessions will be dedicated to ethics - these discussions will center on topics such as research ethics, human genome, cloning and stem cell research. Other individual sessions will include presentations regarding graduate school admissions, and career opportunities in the biological sciences as well as visits to core research facilities

Social events:

There will be bi-weekly social mixers. These will include group meals at faculty homes, local restaurants, and on campus.

Final presentations:

The directors Jane Jackman and Anna Dobritsa will provide a short lecture to the students on how to prepare a poster highlighting their key findings. At the end of the program, the students will present their results to faculty and students from both departments in a poster session that will be held during the final week of the program.


The REU students will be provided full room and board. They will be housed in an air-conditioned OSU honors dormitory in adjacent rooms. Students will be provided with 1) funds for daily meals, and 2) an OSU ID card.