Biology Research

Biology Department

You are here

Research work on Blue Heron

Biology Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology (BURST)

The application deadline for the summer of 2017 has passed.

To donate to the BURST program

The Biology Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology (BURST) fellowship program is designed to give qualified UMD Biology/Cell & Molecular Biology majors the opportunity to take part in an in-depth summer research project. For students interested in pursuing further education once they attain their bachelor’s degree, this is an excellent opportunity to experience what in-depth research outside the classroom is like. The BURST program is intended to be an intensive research experience for students who already have some less intensive experience (e.g. UROP, lab volunteering, etc.).

The BURST program will run for ten weeks, starting Monday, June 5 and ending Friday, August 11.  Fellows are expected to work full-time (40 hours per week) during that period. Due to the nature of biological research, this may on occasion involve working in the evening or on weekends. Fellows are expected to be willing to make reasonable accommodations in this regard as required for their specific research projects. The BURST program will end with a poster session on Thursday, August 10 at which fellows will present their research to other BURST fellows, members of the UMD Biology Department, and donors who have contributed to funding the BURST program. In addition, it is expected that many BURST research projects will lead to peer-reviewed publications in which the BURST fellow will be a co-author. This may involve additional participation beyond the ten-week summer period for data analysis and manuscript preparation. All BURST fellows will be appropriately recognized for their contributions to research that leads to a peer-reviewed publication.

BURST fellows will receive a stipend of $4,500 for their ten-week fellowship period. They will receive an additional $500 for research expenses. The faculty mentor is expected to provide 50% ($2,500) to match BURST funds, and any additional research expenses will be the responsibility of the faculty mentor.

BURST applicants are required to have contacted a potential faculty mentor prior to submitting their application in order to discuss potential research projects. As part of the application the potential faculty mentor is required to provide a letter of recommendation to the BURST Fellowship Committee. This letter must include a statement by the faculty member that he or she is willing to match the $2,500 in BURST funds. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact their potential faculty mentor and request a letter at least 2-3 weeks before the application deadline of March 30.  Applicants will be notified by April 5 if they will be offered a BURST fellowship, and will be expected to accept or decline the fellowship within one week.

Previous BURST projects:

Matthew Detjen - “Vernal Pool Water Quality Across a Continuum of Earthworm Invasion Status”

Maxwell Helmberger - “Effects of Solidago altissima Drought Stress on Lacebug Corythucha marmorata Oviposition and Nymph Survival”

Jessica Le - “Acquisition of Botany Skills: Herbarium”

Elizabeth Madole - “Seasonal Change of Iron Receptors in the Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel Brain”

Paula Miller - “Factors Influencing Pollination Success of Solidago altissima”

Tianna Perosino - “Genes Affected by Circadian Rhythms in Larval Zebra Fish”

Daniel Thiel - “Assessing the Intensity of Nonnative Earthworm Invasions under the Canopy and in Light Gaps in Four Northeastern Minnesota Forest Communities”

Marshall Wedger - “Genetics of Fruit Abscission in Domesticated Apple Compared to Three Wild Apple Species”

BURST fellowship application

To donate to the BURST program

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

The Department of Biology proudly participates in University of Minnesota's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), which offers financial awards twice yearly to full-time undergraduates for research, scholarly, or creative projects undertaken in partnership with a faculty member. UROP affords undergraduates a unique educational experience of collaborating with a faculty mentor on the design and implementation of a project. At the same time, faculty have opportunity to work closely with students and receive valuable assistance with their own research or professional activity. UROP adds a new dimension to the undergraduate experience. It also encourages students to conduct research and pursue academic interests outside of their regular courses by employing them to work on special projects. Projects are expected to contribute to the students' academic development.

UROP applications are judged on the quality of the proposed project, the strength of the collaboration with the faculty sponsor, and the educational benefit to the student. Since funding is limited, awards are granted to the strongest proposals.


A stipend (up to $1,400) is available as salary for actual time spent working on a project. This corresponds to approximately 120 total hours of work for the project.

An expense allowance (up to $300) is also available for supplies and expenses required by the project.

Students may receive both a stipend and an expense allowance for a single project making a maximum award of $1,700.

For applications made in the spring, awards are for the approximate period of July 1st through the following June 30th. Awards made in the fall are for the approximate period of January 1st through the following June 30th.

To apply for a UROP you must be a full-time (see below) UMD undergraduate enrolled in a baccalaureate or pre-baccalaureate degree program. Additionally you must be in good academic standing as defined by your college. Individuals on academic probation are not eligible. Adult special students are not eligible.

Full-time student status: During the period of your award, you must be registered for a minimum of six credits per semester.

For more information about the program, deadlines, and application procedures please visit the UROP website.

Sample projects

The following represent a small sample of student UPROP projects that have been pursued and subsequently presented:

"Complementation testing of new spermatogenesis defective mutants of Caenorhabditis elegans"

"Determining the diversity of Archaeal amo-A genes found at different depths in Lake Superior"

“Comparative Study of Betula neolaskana, Betula kenaica, and Betula papyrifera Outer Bark Extracts Against Mouse Melanoma (M2) Cells”

“Accelerated Steel Corrosion; Comparison of Bacterial Communities” “Detecting the presence of Bacterial Ammonia Oxidizers in Lake Superior”

“Comparative Study of the Quality and Quantity of Airborne Microorganisms in

Life Sciences Construction Sites and New Fitness Center-Upper Level-Cardio

Sites” “Exotoxin Production and toxicity from Staphylococcus aureus in potato salad

media using HERZ cells”

Research for Credit

Included in the course offerings for biology majors and minors are special opportunities for research experience (BIOL 3994, UROPs, and directed research) and internships (BIOL 3996), as well as in-class participation as undergraduate teaching assistants (BIOL 3993). These opportunities are offered if you are in your junior or senior year and require approval of the academic adviser as well as prior arrangement with a sponsoring department faculty member.  You must submit an application for these courses in order to register.  Click on the program you are interested in for directions and the application form.  The Department of Biology faculty sponsor assigns a grade (S/N) for these courses.