This REU Site award at the University of Georgia (UGA) aims to attract and retain underrepresented minority and female students from institutions with limited research opportunities in science and engineering and prepare them for graduate programs and careers in these fields. Nanobiotechnology research is an emerging interdisciplinary area at the interface of nanotechnology and biomedicine. This three-year project provides an interdisciplinary research experience to undergraduate students, leveraging the diverse interdisciplinary expertise, resources, and training opportunities. Ten REU students over a 10-week summer program each year will participate in interdisciplinary research projects that apply nanotechnology to specific biomedical questions. Each REU student will be co-mentored by paired faculty from the nanotechnology and biomedical disciplines on a collaborative research project. This REU experience will recruit students from diverse backgrounds. Over 60% of participants will come from academic institutions where research opportunities are limited, over 70% will be underrepresented minorities, and over 80% will be females. This recruitment is expected to broaden participation within the next generation of scientists and engineers in interdisciplinary research endeavors.
The existing world-class programs, facilities, collaborative research culture, and inclusive environments at the university create a strong setting for this interdisciplinary site. Students will be recruited nationwide with particular emphasis on students who are underrepresented/underserved minorities (URM) and females from STEM limited institutions. Through the program, students will (1) design hypotheses-driven research experiments to solve biomedical problems with engineering tools; (2) develop skills for conducting interdisciplinary research; (3) gain confidence and a sense of self-efficacy to participate in science and engineering research, (4) develop a greater understanding and appreciation for the benefits of interdisciplinary research. Research mentors will also gain expertise in mentoring URM and female students in interdisciplinary research.
PI: Leidong Mao