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Release: Sept. 25, 2001

Department of Microbiology offers research program for undergraduate students

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Researchers in the University of Iowa department of microbiology are using a five-year, $359,143 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide undergraduate students who are interested in science careers an opportunity to experience life as a research scientist.

The UI program, which was initiated in 1993 and has been funded by NSF for five of the last nine years, allows eligible undergraduate students in the biological sciences to spend nine weeks working in a research laboratory with one of 25 participating microbiology researchers. The students work with their faculty mentors in designing, conducting and interpreting experiments to answer specific scientific questions. At the end of the nine weeks, the students present their research.

This past summer, students pursued projects in research areas including bacterial and viral gene expression, virus structure and assembly, bioremediation, and industrial microbiology. Several projects also focused on how bacteria and viruses cause disease in humans and how the human immune system responds to these organisms.

The research program strives to give students hands-on experience in carrying out a basic research project directed at asking a scientific question and appears to be achieving its goals.

"The program was a resounding success," said Michael Feiss, Ph.D., UI professor of microbiology. Feiss, along with his colleague, Richard Roller, Ph.D., UI professor of microbiology, are co-directors of the program.

To be eligible for the program, students must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States and have completed their sophomore or junior year towards a bachelor’s degree in a biological science. The deadline for students to apply for consideration for next summer's program is Feb. 15, 2002.

For more information about the summer research program, including eligibility, financial support and how to apply, go to the UI department of microbiology’s Web site at and click on "summer research."

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