Research Opportunities


Research is a high priority for the BMB program and students may conduct research on a volunteer basis, for academic credit, or for pay. Students are strongly encouraged to get involved in research with BMB faculty members. Each year, approximately 100 BMB, Biology, and Chemistry students participate in research in BMB faculty laboratories. Alternatively, students can conduct research in an outside lab so long as they have a BMB faculty sponsor.

For more information, contact the Chair of BMB Research and Honors, Dr. Tolan.

Eligibility Requirements:

A BMB GPA of 3.0 or higher is required to apply for Undergraduate Research in BMB.Your BMB GPA can be found in Degree Advice in the section header “CAS Major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.”

Courses & Credits:

Freshman BB 191/192  (2 credits)

Sophomore BB 291/292  (2 credits)

Junior BB 391/392  (2 or 4 credits)

Senior BB 491/492  (4 credits)

Note: Senior-level research (including Honors) can be used to satisfy the advanced lab elective if both semesters of research are taken. Alternatively, students can use one semester of four-credit research to fulfill a BMB elective if not using Undergraduate Research or Honors Research for their advanced lab elective.


During fall and spring semesters, students are expected to conduct research for 3 hours/week per credit. During the summer 1 and summer 2 sessions, students are expected to work 8 hours/week per credit.


1. Determine which BMB faculty members (or outside researchers) are conducting research in the field of study you are interested in. Then contact the individual(s) directly to determine if they have openings in their lab.

2. Alternatively, you can ask the Teaching Fellows in your courses if there are openings in the labs they work in or if they know of anyone looking for undergrad help.

3. Once you have a research mentor, you may then apply for Undergraduate Research.

If you are conducting research outside the BMB Program, you will also need to ask a BMB faculty member to sponsor you (i.e., he/she will act as a liaison between the BMB Program and the outside researcher). Your BMB sponsor is usually your faculty advisor but could also be another faculty member with whom you have a good relationship and who is familiar with the field of research in which you will be engaged. Both your PI and the BMB faculty sponsor must approve your application.


Applications are due by the date listed at the top of the Undergraduate Research application. Students must be participating in research during the semester(s) of application and thus cannot apply for Undergraduate Research for previously conducted research.


Undergraduate Research application

Eligibility Requirements:

An overall and BMB GPA of 3.5 or higher is required to apply for Honors Research in BMB. Your BMB GPA is the sum total of all BB/BI/CH/PY/MA courses.

Program Requirements:

  • Research BB 401 & 402  (total of 8 credits)**
  • Seminar BB 497 & 498  (total of 2 credits)
  • Completion and defense of written senior thesis
  • Oral presentation of research at BMB Symposium

** Note: Senior-level research (including Honors) can be used to satisfy the advanced lab elective if both semesters of research are taken. Alternatively, students can use one semester of four-credit research to fulfill a BMB elective if not using Undergraduate Research or Honors Research for their advanced lab elective.


Students are expected to conduct research for a minimum of 12 hours per week. The 12 hours does not including preparation, evaluation, or group meetings.


Applications are due a week before the Add/Drop deadline.

Application Instructions:

Submit the below application form, your unofficial transcript, and your Honors research proposal to Stacy Straaberg Finfrock in 5 Cummington Mall, Room 101.

Honors Research in BMB Application

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is a University-wide program that helps connect students with research opportunities and provides funding for both research expenses and student stipends. In addition to funding during the academic year, UROP provides funding for full-time, paid research opportunities during the summer.

For program details and application, visit the UROP website.

Recent publications (undergraduates listed in bold):

Liberti WA, Markowitz JE, Perkins LN, Liberti DC,
Leman DP, Guitchounts G, Gardner TJ (2016) Unstable neurons underlie a stable learned behavior.  Nature Neuroscience 19(12): 1665-1671.

Meehan TL, Joudi TF, Timmons AK, Taylor JD, Habib C, Peterson JS, Emmanuel S, Fanc NC, McCall K (2016) Components of the Engulfment Machinery Have Distinct Roles in Corpse Processing. PLoS ONE 11:

Parag-Sharma K, Leyme A, DiGacomo V, Marivin A, Broselid S, Ramachandran S, Cerione RA, Garcia-Marcos M (2016) Membrane recruitment of the non-receptor protein GIV/Girdin is sufficient for activating heterotrimeric G proteins.  Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Zhu W, Easthon LM, Reinhardt LA, Tu C, Cohen SE, Silverman DN, Allen KN, Richards NG (2016) Substrate Binding Mode and Molecular Basis of a Specificity Switch in Oxalate Decaroxylase. Biochemistry 12;55(14) 2163-2173.