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OU Provides NSF Undergraduate Research Experience in Structural Biology for University Students Across the Nation

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OU Provides NSF Undergraduate Research Experience in Structural Biology for University Students Across the Nation

Front row, left to right: Tresa Miser, Oklahoma Wesleyan University; Hannah Malone, John Brown University; Elsie Wilson, University of Minnesota, Morris; Ruth Blower, St. Olaf College; Abby Ballard, Austin College. Back row, left to right: Erich Thalacker, Central College; Darlean Martin, Fisk University; Adam Oken, Whitman College; Paul Sims, University of Oklahoma; Jessica Ames, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology; Brad Ross, Saginaw Valley State University.




NORMAN – The National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Program in Structural Biology at the University of Oklahoma provides a research experience for students who do not have a program available to them at their institutions.  After completing a nine-week summer program on structural biology research, 10 students from universities across the nation presented research results during a poster session on July 28, 2016, at the Stephenson Life Sciences Research Center on the OU Research Campus. 

“The REU students have really worked hard on their projects, and they have made good progress.  We have ‘working lunches’ once a week and during these working lunches, the students gain practice at presenting their work orally.  Through these meetings, it has become abundantly clear that the students are fully engaged in their research projects and are enjoying this experience,” said Paul Sims, director of the OU program. 

Students participating in the 2016 summer program are:  Abby Ballard, Austin College; Brad Ross, Saginaw Valley State University; Eric Thalacker, Central College; Adam Oken, Whitman College; Elsie Wilson, University of Minnesota, Morris; Hannah Malone, John Brown University; Darlean Martin, Fisk University; Jessica Ames, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology; Tresa Miser, Oklahoma Wesleyan University; and Ruth Blower, St. Olaf College. 

The summer program is designed to teach students skills in laboratory research, how to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, understand the process of science and communicate their research results to their peers and the public.  Each student is paired with a mentor and assigned a research project, which varies according to the research of each mentor.  The common underlying theme of all research projects though is structural biology.  At the end of the program, students present their research results during a poster presentation. 

For more information about the NSF Undergraduate Research Experience in Structural Biology, visit the OU College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry website, Summer Research Experience at or contact

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