About the REM Program
The Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) Program at UCSD recruits 4-6 students (high school or undergraduate) each year to join an ongoing interdisciplinary research collaboration focused on reducing pathogenicity in built environments. REM students are paired with a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow in their host lab for a 6-week paid research experience where they gain hands-on training in research and scientific communication and engage in professional development and networking opportunities.
Available research projects vary by year, but fall within the following four general themes:
- Microbial competition in the built environment (Dr. Jack Gilbert's lab, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Department of Pediatrics)
- Computational metabolic modeling (Dr. Karsten Zengler’s lab, Departments of Pediatrics and Bioengineering)
- Materials science and 3D printing (Dr. Shaochen Chen’s lab, Departments of Nanoengineering and Bioengineering)
- Ethical and responsible translational activities (Dr. Rebecca Fielding-Miller's lab, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Longevity Science)
As part of their training, REM participants attend weekly lab meetings in their research groups as well as REM professional development sessions, including:
- Panel discussions with current graduate students about their experience of applying for and navigating graduate school
- Networking sessions with industry contacts
- Guidance on preparing engaging poster and oral presentations
- A weekly research seminar series at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
- An end-of-summer poster session
In addition to receiving mentorship from the host lab and the REM program coordinator Dr. Sarah Allard, the REM program has 2 additional mentors: Dr. Elinne Becket, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at California State University San Marcos, and Benoni Pantoja, Education Director for the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.
Mentors will actively engage with students beyond the summer research experience, for example being available for professional development advice and presentation feedback. Students will be funded to attend the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM during spring of the year following the program, in Washington, DC, where they will present posters about their summer research projects.
Applying to the REM Program
We expect the application period to open in early spring 2024.
The application will require a personal statement, several short-answer questions, resume, transcript, and 1 letter of recommendation. Check here for updates! For questions about the REM program or application process, please contact program coordinator Sarah Allard (firstname.lastname@example.org).
REM Program Details
Dates: Late June to mid-August, 2024, plus conference attendance in Spring 2025
Stipend: A total stipend of $6,000 for 6 weeks at UCSD.
Eligibility: Must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or high school student and attending in the fall, must be a US citizen, national, or permanent resident. Native American students from Southern California and students attending California State University San Marcos or other primarily undergraduate institutions are encouraged to apply.
More About the Research
This program builds upon an NSF-funded Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) on Engineered Living Systems (ELiS) project entitled, “Developing probiotic interventions to reduce the emergence and persistence of pathogens in built environments.” The goal of this project is to design strains of Bacillus subtilis with long-term viability on various built surface materials and to integrate them into printable, composite, porous building materials to reduce surface pathogenic microorganisms. Our team envisions a complete transformation of how we engineer building materials, construct our buildings, and maintain these environments. We believe that when knowledge of biocontrol and modern 3D printing technology are combined, it will be possible to reduce infectious disease burden beyond what is currently possible with the use of toxic chemical agents or air filtration.