Integrative Molecular Plant Systems Research Experience

Participants in 2017 REU

The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology welcomes applications for the Integrative Molecular Plant Systems Undergraduate Research Experience. NC State University has a strong core of plant biologists who are working in the areas of sustainable foods, fuels, and developing model systems for studying fundamental biological mechanisms. During the 10-week summer program, students will actively engage in a research project under the mentorship of a participating faculty member. The program is funded by the National Science Foundation.


The summer program will run Monday, May 27 – Friday, August 2, 2019.

Program Activities

The program kicks off with a three-day “biotechnology boot camp,” where participants will learn critical molecular biology laboratory skills. Participants will pursue independent research projects for the remainder of the summer under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students will also have multiple public-speaking opportunities to present their research, including a poster presentation at the campus-wide undergraduate research symposium at the end of the program.

Sample Projects

Faculty/Mentor Research Focus
Dr. José Alonso and

Dr. Anna Stepanova

Molecular mechanisms of auxin biosynthesis and its regulation, ethylene and auxin interactions, gene-specific regulation of protein translation in hormone responses
Dr. Robert Franks Molecular genetic mechanisms of gene regulation required for ovule and seed development in flowering plants
Dr. Amy Grunden Biotechnological applications of extremophiles for biofuel production, bioremediation, and crop improvement
Dr. Candace Haigler How are plant cell size and shape regulated? Viewing the control of cell morphogenesis through the lens of single-celled cotton fiber.
Dr. Linda Hanley-Bowdoin SEGS (sequences that enhance geminivirus symptoms): How do they overcome disease resistance in cassava and threaten food security in Africa?
Dr. Marcela Rojas-Pierce Characterization of vacuole membrane contacts for gravity perception; Studies of vacuole fusion during stomata opening.
Dr. Ross Sozzani Molecular mechanisms regulating stem cell maintenance, cell proliferation and cell fate decisions during root development.
Dr. Cranos Williams Development of novel modeling and computational tools for advancing the comprehensive understanding of emergent properties in biochemical pathways associated with plant growth, development, and adaptation.

Who Should Apply

The program is open to all rising sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduate students enrolled in a degree program leading to a baccalaureate degree with a demonstrated interest in molecular biology. Applicants will be evaluated based on their statement of interest, transcript, and letters of recommendation. We particularly encourage students from institutions other than NC State to apply, though there will be one slot available for an NC State student. Prior research experience is not required. NC State is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from underrepresented groups, including minorities and people with disabilities.

This program is only open to US citizens and permanent residents.

Financial Support

Stipends, room, board, and travel expenses are provided.

  • Stipend: $5,550 for the 10-week session
  • Room and board: Apartment-style accommodations on campus
  • Travel expenses: Round-trip air travel will be provided to participants who do not live within driving distance of the program


Applications and recommendation letters are due by Friday, February 22, 2019.

  • You must obtain an REU ID prior to applying. Please visit and follow the instructions to create an ID. If you have already obtained an REU ID for another program, you should to use the same ID for this program.
  • Complete the online application.
  • Upload a one-page statement of purpose and a transcript (downloaded or scanned transcripts are acceptable). Please have these ready prior to completing the application.
  • The personal statement should demonstrate why you are interested in science and research, your career and educational goals, and why you think this research experience would benefit you. Include any laboratory skills, research experience, awards, honors, or extracurricular activities you would like us to know about. Please also discuss preferred areas of research based on sample projects on our website.
  • Ask one faculty member to use the program recommendation form to submit a letter of recommendation.
Apply Now