UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY CORE (UROC!) PROGRAM
Boston Biomedical Research Institute (BBRI) offers opportunities for early research experiences for undergraduates who are considering careers in scientific research. By providing well-mentored, supervised, original research experiences, BBRI investigators aim to inspire the next generations of basic and clinical scientists. Because BBRI is not limited by a specific academic affiliation, its laboratories are open to host undergraduates from a wide array of local, national, and international colleges and universities. However, BBRI has a particular focus to support the research career development of young scientists in its immediate and regional locale.
In addition to year-round research internship opportunities, BBRI conducts a special “Summer UROC Program” for motivated undergraduates. The summer program includes formal instruction in reading scientific papers, scientific writing, scientific presentation, practical statistics for laboratory research, and ethically responsible research conduct; original research presentations from supervising mentors; and professional development workshops featuring speakers that cover a broad range of scientific research careers.
Research and Training
BBRI laboratories provide opportunities for hands-on, supervised, original research investigations relevant to four programmatic areas for biomedical research. These are Cancer Biology, Regenerative Biology, Cardiovascular Biology, and Integrative Protein Biology. Laboratories in these programmatic areas focus on specific problems in areas that include both applied and basic research in disciplines including stem cell biology, muscle disease, cancer, aging, cell signaling, protein biophysics, immunology, cell biology, and molecular biology. In addition, students are exposed to the theory and use of state of the art instrumentation for cell imaging, cell analyses, analytical biochemistry, mass spectroscopy, x-ray crystallography, chemical and molecular spectroscopy, molecular fractionation, gene expression analyses, protein biochemistry, computational biology, bioinformatics, and molecular biology analyses. Students receive laboratory safety and bio-safety training before initiating research projects.
Each admitted student is assigned to the laboratory of a principal investigator whose research is best matched to the student’s area of research interest. Assigned students may either be supervised by the principal investigator directly or by a post-doctoral associate or research associate mentor in the principal investigator’s laboratory.
Eligibility for the Summer UROC Program requires that applicants be enrolled fulltime in a 2-year or 4-year college or university. A college transcript is required for verification of enrollment. The Academic Year UROC Program considers applicants with more advanced education and research training. Although students with a demonstrated interest in scientific research and prior laboratory research experience are given priority, students seeking a first laboratory research experience are encouraged to apply and are given ample consideration as well.
Academic-Year UROC Program
The BBRI UROC Committee considers applicants on a case-by-case basis year-round given position availability. For academic-year research, once a completed application has been received, it is submitted to the entire BBRI faculty for review and consideration. If faculty members express an interest in considering a candidate for an internship, the UROC Committee establishes communication between the applicant and interested faculty members for their further evaluation. By this approach, the entire BBRI research faculty considers all academic-year applications, increasing the chances for an ideal match of students’ research interests and career goals.
Summer UROC Program
The Summer UROC Program runs for 10 weeks starting approximately June 1 of each year. In addition to their independent laboratory research, participating students are required to attend 2-3 hours of didactic research training and career development forums each week. Students are also required to prepare a mentored manuscript detailing their research and to give either an oral or poster presentation of their research at the conclusion of the program.
For the Summer UROC Program, the UROC Committee works with faculty mentors to arrange the most suitable host lab assignment of admitted applicants. Applications for the Summer UROC Program are considered starting February 1 of each year. The deadline for receipt of summer UROC applications is March 31. Students will be notified of their acceptance by April 30. After notification of acceptance, confirmation of attendance is required within 10 business days. After this deadline, unconfirmed positions will be made available to applicants who were placed on a waiting list.
Required Application Materials:
Complete applications should include the following information:
1. Complete resume or curriculum vitae, including information on current college degree program, expected date of graduation
2. Official college transcript
3. Personal statement detailing research interests and career goals
4. Names of 2-3 past or current college professors or lecturers who will send letters of recommendation. Please, request that letter writers forward their original letters printed on their official letterhead to Dr. Sherley’s postal address as well as send electronic versions by e-mail to email@example.com.
5. Please, indicate whether interested in volunteering, if travel and stipend funds are not available; or if college credit by a certified program at your current university or college is a contingency for participation.
6. Please, indicate any U.S. visa requirements that apply to your ability to work at BBRI.
Applications and queries should be sent to:
Dr. James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D.
Programs in Regenerative Biology and Cancer Biology
Chair, BBRI UROC Committee
Boston Biomedical Research Institute
Stipend and Travel Support
The level of stipend and travel support varies from summer to summer. For summer 2010, stipend support was available for all admitted students. The stipend is based on a $10.00 hourly wage. Limited travel funds may be available for special circumstances.
Housing is not provided. The following resource is recommended for identifying affordable housing located near BBRI. Sublets and temporary housing in Boston area: http://boston.craigslist.org/sub/