About the REM Program

Three researchers in lab coats and protective glasses in a lab.

The application for summer 2024 is now closed. Check back for 2025 opportunities!

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:

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
REM-EFRI Emily standing at screen talking to classroom of students.

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

Applications for summer 2024 were due March 24, 2024. Check back for 2025 opportunities!

The application requires a personal statement, answering several short-answer questions, resume, transcript, and 1 letter of recommendation. For questions about the REM program or application process, please contact program coordinator Sarah Allard (

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 plus housing or commuting support.

Eligibility: Must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or high school student (age 17+) and attending in fall 2024, 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.

REM-EFRI group photo in front of Geisel Library
2023 REM Cohort. Jayden Chaloux, AJ Dizon, Talia Quiroga, and Harshika Rathod (left to right) in front of UCSD’s Geisel library on their first day.

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.

2023 Cohort 


Jayden Chaloux is an undergraduate student at University of California Los Angeles, where she majors in biochemistry with the intent of becoming a forensic scientist. She is a member of the United National Indian Tribal Youth Council (UNITY) and volunteers with the San Pasqual Education Department’s after-school program. For her summer research experience, Jayden worked in Dr. Shaochen Chen’s lab to fabricate living materials with 3D bioprinters. 


Antoinette Jane (AJ) Dizon (they/she) is an undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos pursuing a B.S. in Biotechnology. As a REM intern, they researched microbial competition in the built environment in Dr. Jack Gilbert's lab. AJ plans to attend graduate school for marine biotechnology and biomedicine, combining her love for the ocean and background in biotechnology. They hope to continue projects in science education, communication, and outreach to inspire young students interested in pursuing STEM careers while representing that STEM is for everyone.


Talia Quiroga (she/her) is an undergraduate student at the University of San Diego majoring in Business Analytics and Sociology with a Law, Crime, and Justice Studies Concentration and a Law and Ethics minor. Talia joined Dr. Rebecca Fielding-Miller's lab for her summer research experience, where she worked on developing ethical and legal guidelines for the implementation of living materials in healthcare settings. Being a Kumeyaay native with a mixed background, Talia is passionate about working to assist marginalized communities to success in personal and professional affairs. When not in school Talia can be found trying new restaurants, spending time with family, friends and cat, or at a local sports game.

REM-EFRI Harshika

Harshika Rathod is an undergraduate biology major at California State University San Marcos. During her summer research experience in Dr. Karsten Zengler’s lab, Harshika worked on computational metabolic modeling of bacterial interactions to build our understanding of how different strains of bacteria survive and complete in built environments.