Plant STEM Summer Undergraduate Research Internship

Program Overview

This REU Site award to Utah State University, located in Logan, UT, will support the training of 10 students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2021–2023. It is anticipated that a total of 30 students, primarily from colleges with limited research opportunities or from an under-represented group, will be trained in the program. Students will learn how research is conducted, and many will present the results of their work at scientific conferences, such as SACNAS and AISES, and at a final symposium on campus. Research is focused on plant physiology, soil health, and plant microbiome. Participants will gain research skills and increase their scientific knowledge that will help them in the pursuit of their STEM career. Assessment of the program will be done through the online SALG URSSA tool. Students will be tracked after the program in order to determine their career paths.

Participants will focus on plant-microbe-soil interactions to understand the roles that probiotic organisms and soil health play in plant growth. Mentors come from the Biological Engineering, Biology, Plants Soils & Climate, and Environmental Engineering departments housed in three different colleges (Engineering, Agriculture, Science). Example projects include an investigation on how engineered nanoparticles interact with plants and beneficial microbes; on how soil management influences plant and microbe health, nitrogen cycling, and symbiotic relations;on how to isolate and characterize plant secondary metabolites that inhibit weed species; on using current tools to search for new valuable natural products in plants and microbes; on studying microbial biocontrol of plant pathogens. Students will learn how to use scanning electron microscopy and laser confocal microscopy in their research. Students will gain formal training in ethics and the responsible conduct of research. Students will see the relevance of their research through industry tours and meetings with Utah State University alumni working at local bio/agro-tech companies. Application to the program is available online and selected students will be interviewed virtually by faculty mentors. More information about the program is available by visiting https://engineering.usu.edu/be/reu/plant-stem or by contacting the PI (Dr. David W Britt, david.britt@usu.edu) or the co-PI (Dr. Anne J Anderson, annejanderson33@gmail.com).

10-Week Program

Eligibility:

  • Completion of two semesters
  • Preferred classwork in agriculture, engineering, biology, chemistry, and physics
  • U.S. Citizen and permanent residency

Research Program Details:

  • USU Main Campus, Logan, UT
  • $6,000 stipend (i.e. ”salary”)
  • On campus housing and travel costs included
  • Meals provided
  • Rec facilities access
  • Group activities and outings
Student evaluating sample from REU

Benefits

  • Hands-on research in faculty labs
  • Personal mentoring and guidance
  • New research skills
  • Training in technical writing, communication, and presentations

Applications

Interested students please send your cover letter, statement of interest, resume, transcripts and two letters of recommendation to:
David Britt, david.britt@usu.edu

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