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Structure and Function Summer Institute (SFSI)

This NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site award to The Scripps Research Institute, located in La Jolla, CA, supports the training of 10 students in a 10-week program that probes the structure and function of macromolecules during the summers of 2015-2017. This program offers its diverse participants an academic structure that integrates cutting-edge research with professional skills development and faculty mentoring.

Each of the major program components – (1) curriculum and professional development workshops and (2) research experiences – will be made up of several elements that work together and provide a stepwise, scaffolding approach to improving interns’ critical thinking skills, scientific preparation skills, knowledge base, and research expertise. The heart of the program will be the hands-on research experience in one of our 150 state-of-the-art laboratories where interns learn the scientific process by participating in research side-by-side with our world-renowned faculty and scientists.

Structure/function areas currently receiving attention at Scripps include: defining the structure and function of key proteins in both the innate and acquired immune systems; production of databases cataloguing the molecular components of the cell; development of novel therapies to counter disease; integration of computational methods with the current arsenal of biophysical techniques to determine protein structure; exploration of brain function; and evaluation of molecules for new therapeutics.

In addition to the lab research, program participants will attend themed weekly professional development workshops and scientific seminars where they will be expected to read current scientific articles, then participate in discussions about the rationale behind the experiments, analyze the work critically, and engage in scientific discourse with their peers. The program culminates with oral and/or poster presentations. By providing this experience, we endeavor to improve interns’ research and communication skills, and prepare the most talented students to pursue careers in biomedical research.

Students must be enrolled in a US institution to apply. Ideal candidates are rising juniors and seniors. The Scripps California REU provides participants with a stipend and housing.

Applications including at least two letters of reference are due by February 15. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance in early March.