Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Program

An award has been made to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to establish an Undergraduate Research and Mentoring (URM) program. The program will provide one-year research experiences in quantitative biology and informatics to four cohorts of scholars, starting in the summer of 2011 and continuing through 2015. Each cohort consists of seven students who will explore problems using integrative quantitative inquiry. This program seeks to expand the recruitment pool of multicultural and multidisciplinary workforce of scientists and professionals by offering experiential learning opportunities in computational and wet laboratories as well as academic and career development activities to community college students, providing long-term mentoring and encouraging family support and participation.

Students will be able to select from topics in plant and animal bioinformatics, quantitative genetics and plant breeding, statistical genomics, architecture of complex traits, food nanotechnology, biological system modeling, and statistics for agriculture. Students will participate in  a 12-week, summer, intensive research immersion experience,  mentor-guided academic year research, and an optional second summer internship experience. The research will be complemented with academic and career advancement, network development, and support activities.

Project evaluation will assess the quality of research, oral presentations, and student and mentor interactions, as well as skills assessment using pre and post test instruments and student feedback on the program. More information is available by contacting Gustavo Caetano-Anolles (gca@illinois.edu), Sandra Rodriguez-Zas (rodrgzzs@illinois.edu), Jesse Thompson (jthomps5@illinois.edu), Maria Villamil (villamil@illinois.edu) or Elvira DeMejia (edemejia@illinois.edu).

Visit the URM site.