Undergraduate biology majors are encouraged to participate in research at some point during their time at Boston University, and there are a number of different programs that help make this possible. In most cases, students should initiate the process by inquiring with potential faculty mentors conducting research in their field of interest. With the approval of a faculty mentor, students may enroll in Directed Research for academic credit beginning as early as the freshman year.
In addition, there are several sources of financial support for undergraduate research. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) administers and supports undergraduate research at Boston University. Support from UROP includes stipends for students conducting research both during the academic year and during the summer and support for research expenses.
Freshmen and sophomores have the opportunity to participate in research for elective credit (2 credits per semester) with a biology faculty mentor. Juniors can choose to do either 2 or 4 credits of research per semester while seniors can participate in 4 credits of research per semester. Only juniors and seniors taking 4 credits of research per semester can substitute them (up to 8 credits or 2 semesters) for advanced biology courses required for the major.
Additionally, qualified senior students may engage in Work for Distinction, an 8-credit, two-semester sequence culminating in the presentation of a senior thesis. Students are advised to inquire about research opportunities and make arrangements for Distinction research well in advance of their senior year. Senior Distinction students often initiate research during their junior year or even earlier. Work for Distinction can also be used in place of some advanced biology electives.
Each year, approximately 100 Biology undergraduates participate in research in faculty laboratories. View brief profiles of some our undergraduate researchers.
Clarie Schenkel works in Dr. Kim McCall's laboratory studying programmed cell death in the ovaries of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.
Colin Averill recenlty published a paper in the prestigious journal, Ecology, along with his advisor, Dr. Adrien Finzi. His research work focuses on the forms of nitrogen that control the productivity of hardwood and boreal forests.
Curran Uppaluri is pursuing a dual major in both Biology and Economics and works with Dr. Peter Buston investigating whether Amphiprion percula, a type of anemonefish, exhibit definite personality traits.
Michelle McInnis, a senior Biology major working with Prof. Richard Primack, is investigating the effects of a warming climate on the flowering and leafing out times of plants.
Spencer Goodman is a senior working in Dr. John Finnerty's lab investigating gene expression in the parasitic lined sea anemone, Edwardsiella lineata.