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NSF-REU Summer Research Program

2016 Program Dates: May 31 - August 5, 2016.

2017 Program Dates: May 30 - August 4, 2017.

2017 Application window: December 15, 2016 - February 15, 2017.

The program, funded by the National Science Foundation, focuses on interdisciplinary projects in biological, green, and materials chemistry. In our program, students become full members of a research group, carrying out fundamental research on topics that span the chemical sciences.  Most students find the program to be a useful way to explore the graduate school experience at a top Chemistry program. Our faculty have an outstanding record of providing students rewarding summer research experiences, usually resulting in co-authorship on publications and/or presentations. In addition to the focus on individual research projects, students will participate in weekly career development seminars, highlighted by a Career Day with Ph.D. chemists speaking about their career paths.  Students in the Chemistry REU will interact with students in other undergraduate research programs across campus.

Students receive:

  • a stipend of $5000
  • free housing.
  • Travel allowance
  • $500 debit card to be used toward meals. 

Who is Eligible?

This is a competitive program open to undergraduate chemistry majors enrolled in 4-year U.S. Universities  other than Texas A&M who have completed their second or third year with a 3.0 GPA or better with strong letters of recommendation. Students must have completed 2 semesters of general chemistry and general laboratory, 2 semesters of organic chemistry and organic laboratory, and preferably 2 upper level chemistry courses, which typically include any of the following: analytical, spectroscopy, instrumental analysis, advanced organic, physical chemistry, biochemistry.

We welcome applications from members of traditionally underrepresented groups, including minorities and women.

How Do I Apply?

Applications are closed for 2016. 2017 Application window: December 15, 2016 - February 15, 2017.

Apply online at apply2.tamu.edu/reu/chem

The following documents are required for your application to be reviewed.

  • Completed online application including statement of purpose and unofficial transcript with Fall grades
  • 2 letters of recommendation

See Personal Statement Pointers (page 10) for tips about what to include in your personal statement.

Questions may be directed to Ms. Marylin Warren at reu@chem.tamu.edu or 979-845-0520.

What Projects are Available?

Click on the faculty member’s name to view their webpage to learn more about their research interests.

Table 1: Available Faculty Mentors and Sample Research Projects
Faculty Member Sample Project Title
Sarbajit Banerjee Fighting rust formation with graphene and nanostructured magnesium
David Barondeau Bioinorganic chemistry in human health and energy production
James Batteas Tuning surface interactions to control friction and wear of materials
Tadhg Begley Characterization of enzymes involved in vitamin metabolism
David Bergbreiter Green chemistry with functional polyolefins
Janet Bluemel Homogeneous catalysts immobilized on oxide supports by optimized linkers for improved activities and lifetimes
Kevin Burgess Design of molecules to perturb protein-protein interactions
Abraham Clearfield Surface functionalization of layered zirconium phosphate materials
Donald Darensbourg Biodegradable polymer synthesis from renewable resources
Marcetta Darensbourg Synthetic analogues of hydrogenase active sites and dinitrosyl iron complexes (DNICs)
Kim Dunbar Coordination chemistry as a platform for new materials and biological activity
Lei Fang Synthesis of conjugated ladder polymers for organic solar cells
Francois Gabbai Fluoride anion binding by molecular receptors. Applications in water analysis and fluorine-18 positron emission tomography
John Gladysz Werner complexes: a new class of earth abundant metal catalysts
Paul Lindahl Biophysical probes of iron metabolism in eukaryotic cells
Wenshe Liu Pyrrolysine incorporation machinery as a genetic code expansion device
Matthew Sheldon Synthetic optimization of quantum dot luminescence for use in solar cell optical concentrators and optical diodes
Michael Nippe Molecular Approaches to Energy Conversion
Simon North Optical measurements of trace atmospheric species
Oleg Ozerov Pincer complexes of transition metals for synthesis of new materials
David Powers Storing solar energy with small organic molecules
Frank Raushel The discovery and characterization of new enzymes and metabolic pathways
Jonathan Sczepanski  
Dan Singleton Mechanistic studies of green reactions
Dong Hee Son Photophysical properties of 2-dimensional layered nanomaterials and their applications in catalysis
Coran Watanabe Biosynthesis of the anti-tumor agent Azinomycin B
Steven M. Wheeler Computational design of transition-metal free catalysts for asymmetric alkylation reactions
Karen Wooley Functionally-sophisticated Polymer Materials
Hong-cai Zhou Searching for ultra-stable metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) or porous polymer networks (PPNs) for potential applications such as hydrogen storage, carbon capture, and green catalysis

What Else will I do?

Weekly Career Development Seminars
Every week, REU participants meet over lunch to discuss several issues relevant to careers in chemistry. The topics we discussed Ssummer 2014 are in the table below, along with the discussion facilitators.



How to Succeed in Research

Dr. James Batteas

Library Use: Database Searching & E- Journals

Mr. David Hubbard (chemistry librarian)

Laboratory Safety: Dow Safety Academy

Dr. Hannah Crampton, Dow Chemical

Scientific Authoring and Publishing

Dr. Francois Gabbai


Dr. Joanna Pellois (Associate Graduate Advisor)

Technology Commercialization

Dr. Shyamala Rajagopalan and Ms. Janie Hurley, TAMUS Technology Commercialization

Career Day

Dr. Justin Hettick, NIOSH Dr. Christopher Hobbs, TAMU Kingsville
Dr. Sandani Samarajeewa, Intel

Scientific Presentations Dr. Simon North (Graduate Advisor)

Advice from Graduate Students

Graduate Student Panel

Applying to Graduate School

Dr. James Batteas (Graduate Recruitment Coordinator)Dr. Oleg Ozerov (Graduate Admissions Coordinator)


Weekly Research Seminars
Every week, two chemistry faculty members will present short, interactive vignettes about their research. This opportunity allows you to learn about the scope and depth of research opportunities in our department.

Brown Bag Lunches
The Office of Undergraduate Research Coordinates several brown bag lunches that REU participants across campus are invited to attend. Example topics are GRE preparation, Preparing for Graduate School, How to Write a CV, Library Resources, How to Choose a Graduate Mentor, Poster Presentations.

Research Facility Tours 
Tours are offered for many different research facilities across campus. In the past tours have been offered of:

Poster Session
REU students will participate in a University-wide poster session in the final week of the program. Students will be able to present their research to students and faculty in a wide variety of disciplines.

Departmental Symposium
Each student will deliver an oral presentation to the chemistry department in the final week of the symposium. This seminar, attended by fellow undergraduates, as well as graduate students and faculty, allowing students to present their research results to a specialized audience.

Social Events
Numerous social events are sponsored by the department and the University, and REU students often initiate others.  We kick off the program with an ice cream social, allowing students to meet their mentors and advisors in an informal atmosphere. Students from REU programs across campus are invited to attend a pizza party in the first week of the program. Later in the summer, a pool party is sponsored by the Office of Honors and Undergraduate Research. The department has organized barbeques and trips to attend baseball games.Our Graduate Student Association in Chemistry and our local chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers host social events for our REU students. Students are enrolled in our recreation sports program to allow them to use our excellent facilities, and in the past students have created intramural teams and joined outdoor excursions. When research schedules allow, past students have organized weekend trips to Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Houston.

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