Center for Biomedical Research
Hannah Hall of Science, Room 166
244 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4451
(248) 370-4871
Fax (248) 370-3408

Brad Roth, Director

Summer Research Program in Biological Sciences and Chemistry

The Summer Research Program is a unique opportunity to conduct independent research projects in biological sciences or chemistry that will expose students to the techniques and processes of research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. A major goal of the program is to encourage talented undergraduate students to consider graduate study in biological sciences and chemistry.


• The Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry are currently accepting applications for placement into the following summer research opportunities for biological sciences, biochemistry, environmental and chemistry students. Students must be registered at Oakland University at least part time (6 credits) in the current winter semester and at least part time (6 credits) in the following fall semester to be eligible for the program.

• The Summer Research Program is a paid 12-week program (dates to TBD)

• Students will work in a laboratory setting one-on-one with a scientist on an available project and are expected to work 35hrs/week for the duration of the program.

• All students will participate in a symposium and will make a short presentation based upon their research project.

• Oakland University Students are also encouraged to continue with their research project during the academic year by enrolling in BIO 490, BCM 490, or CHM 490.


College of Arts and Science Summer Research Fellowships
Oakland University undergraduates majoring in biological science, environmental sciences, chemistry or biochemistry who have completed their freshman year by the end of winter 2018 through seniors graduating at the end of Fall 2018 are eligible to apply. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in science courses taken at OU is required for participation in the program. An interview may be requested.

Department of Biological Sciences Summer Research Fellowships
Oakland University undergraduates majoring in biology who have completed their freshman year by the end of winter 2018 through seniors graduating at the end of Fall 2018 are eligible to apply. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in science courses taken at OU is required for participation in the program. An interview may be requested.

Department of Chemistry Summer Research Fellowships
Oakland University undergraduates majoring in environmental sciences, chemistry or biochemistry who have completed their freshman year by the end of winter 2018 through seniors graduating at the end of Fall 2018 are eligible to apply. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in science courses taken at OU is required for participation in the program. An interview may be requested.

Dershwitz Summer Research Fellowship
Oakland University undergraduates majoring in chemistry or biochemistry who have completed their sophomore year by the end of winter 2018 through seniors graduating at the end of Fall 2018 are eligible to apply. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 during the previous four semesters of study is required for participation in the program. An interview may be requested.

Oakland University Summer Research Fellowships
Oakland University undergraduates majoring in biological sciences, environmental sciences, chemistry or biochemistry who have completed their freshman year by the end of winter 2018 through seniors graduating at the end of Fall 2018 are eligible to apply. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in science courses taken at OU is required for participation in the program. An interview may be requested.

Application materials should include:

  1. A completed application (available in electronic format here)
  2. A brief resume
  3. A letter of recommendation (only one) from someone who can attest to your scientific interest and aptitude.    Letters of recommendation can be sent directly from the source to                            Letters of recommendation will not be accepted if submitted by the applicant.
  4. Unofficial transcripts from SAIL of all courses taken (including transcripts of courses not taken at OU). Please save transcripts as .doc(x), .pdf, or .jpeg. (saved as one file)

Faculty Mentors from Biological Sciences:

Faculty Name

Research Areas

Fabia  Battistuzzi

Dr. Battistuzzi is a fully computational, dry lab with a focus on the evolution of microbes (prokaryotes and eukaryotes). Projects include: (i) evolution of early life, which provides students with the opportunity to work on high-end phylogenetics and molecular timing of early evolution of prokaryotes; (ii) evolution of genome complexity, with a focus on pathogens and their comparison to non-pathogenic species; (iii) software optimization for molecular clock methods carried out via large-scale simulation studies. Basic programming skills are not required to join the lab but can be helpful.

Sara Blumer-Schuette



Undergraduate projects in the SBS lab focus on the application of physiological traits from environmental microbes. Dependent on interests, projects could include thermophilic bacteria capable of degrading plant biomass or acidophilic bacteria that degrade metal ores. Students will clone and produce proteins that are involved in attachment to surfaces (carbohydrate or metal). Molecular techniques such as PCR, fluorescent microscopy, protein purification will be used. Undergraduates will also learn how to culture non-model environmental microorganisms using techniques different than those taught in microbiology lab.

Arik Dvir

Dr. Arik Dvir is a biochemist by training with many years of experience studying enzymes and proteins using advanced methods for isolation and characterization of the cell’s macromolecules.  His research interests include: Development of biomedical devices and biosensors; Methods for rapid determination of antimicrobial susceptibility in bacteria; Metabolic pathways of detoxification in microorganisms.

Chhabi Govind

We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that govern the dynamic alterations of chromatin structure during transcription. Several multi-protein complexes, including histone modifying and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes, help in altering chromatin structure, which increases DNA accessibility to transcription machinery. Mutations in chromatin remodelers and modifiers are often associated with many human diseases, including cancer. The student will utilize multiple approaches, including genetics, biochemistry and whole genome analyses, to examine the impact of mutations that alter chromatin structure on transcription. S/he will also learn to perform microarray and ChIP-chip/ChIPs-seq experiments, and to analyze large genomic datasets using computational tools.

Mary Jamieson


Research in the Jamieson lab focuses on plant and insect ecology.  Depending on student interests, summer research projects may involve either laboratory studies examining the chemical defenses and phytonutrients of strawberries or field-based investigations examining pollinators, habitat restoration, and/or urban agriculture. Students may gain skills and experience in field ecology, plant and insect inventories and identification, habitat restoration, and/or chemical analysis methods, including liquid chromatography.

Lan Jiang

Biological tube formation is a developmental process required for the formation of the respiratory, vascular and glandular systems of the body. Defects in tube formation result in numerous human diseases including polycystic kidney disease, atherosclerotic heart disease and cancer. The Drosophila trachea system is a complex interconnected tubular network that delivers oxygen to every cell of the body. It is an excellent model system to study the molecular basis of cell migration, cell recognition, cell adhesion and branch fusion during tube formation. Dr. Jiang's work is focused on studying the regulation of tracheal gene expression and how tracheal-expressed genes control the complex cellular behaviors that result in the formation of a continuous tubular network. Current projects in her lab focus on characterizing several novel genes in tube-size regulation using genetic, cellular, molecular approaches.

Zijuan Liu

ZIP8 is a membrane transport to facilitate the uptake of multiple beneficial and toxic biometals. As an indispensable membrane transporter, ZIP8 plays essential roles in maintaining homeostasis of multiple biometals and is required for normal physiological development.Evidence supports ZIP8 as being clinically important in multiple human disorders. GWAS have shown ZIP8 is associated with metabolic diseases. How is ZIP8 function linked to downstream pathway regulation and how does it participate in these pathophysiological phenotypes? There is a major gap in the elucidation of ZIP8-associated metabolism. Those fundamental questions need to be addressed in order to fully understand the physiological and clinical importance of ZIP8. My lab is currently working with mammalian cells and transgenic animal models to decipher the un-characterized ZIP8 function.

Mi Hye Song

We are interested in understanding molecular and genetic mechanisms of centrosome assembly; Mitotic spindle assembly and function; Cell cycle regulation using the nematode C. elegans. Our research will contribute to further our knowledge of human diseases including cancer, microcephaly and neurodegenerative disorder. We use a combination of advanced techniques such as CRISPR/CAS-9, RNA-seq, RNAi, and high-resolution confocal imaging.

Scott Tiegs


Geographically separate ecosystems are often ecologically connected by flows of carbon and nutrients. Rivers receive nitrogen subsidies from the Pacific ocean in the form of migrating salmon; streams receive carbon from autumn-shed riparian leaves; riparian soils receive riverine sediments during flood events. Do human activities alter these connections? And if so, what are the ecological consequences? To answer these types of questions, Dr. Tiegs employs field-based experimental and observational approaches — usually in aquatic ecosystems — with the aim of better understanding how human activities impact aquatic ecosystems, and how undesired effects can be ameliorated through ecological restoration.

Luis Villa-Diaz


My research involves elucidating the role of integrin alpha6 in stem cell populations.  We will investigate the function of ITGA6 in neuronal stem cells and mesenchymal stem cell derived from human pluripotent stem cells.

Randal Westrick


Pathologic blood clotting (thrombosis) leading to heart attacks, strokes and venous thromboembolism is the leading cause of death in the USA. While the risk of developing thrombosis is known to be 60% heritable, only a few of the responsible genes have been identified. Our laboratory in using mouse heart attack and venous thromboembolism models to identify the genes involved in thrombosis.


Faculty Mentors from Chemistry:

Faculty Name

Research Areas

Maria Bryant

Computer Modeling of Intermolecular Forces

Ferman Chavez

This research will probe fundamental properties of iron-containing 4-Histidine carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase. Carotenoid compounds are ubiquitous in nature possessing a wide variety of functions. In plants, they serve as accessory light-harvesting components, pigments, and photo-protectants. Over 1700 volatile carotenoid-derived compounds have been detected. The derivatives are multifunctional serving as hormones (root branching and stress response), aroma, and pollinator attractants.  In the animal kingdom, carotenoids serve as precursors necessary for vision, embryonic development, cellular homeostasis, and immunity (Vitamin A). Carotenoid Cleavage Dioxygenases (CCDs) are nonheme iron enzymes that catalyze the oxidative scission of carotenoid carbon-carbon double bonds yielding ketones and/or aldehyde-containing products. We plan to make iron complexes that resemble the active site of these enzymes and study their properties and reactivity.

Roman Dembinski

Novel Synthetic Methods

Nucleoside (DNA/RNA) Analogs

Bioorganic and Organometallic Chemistry

Fluorous Chemistry

Sanela Martic

Fluorescent peptides

Electrochemical study of cancer biomarkers

Understanding tau protein: Alzheimer's Disease

Michael Sevilla

Mechanisms of Radiation Damage to DNA

Electron Spin Resonance Analysis for Free Radicals

Quantum Chemistry Calculations of Free Radical Properties and Structure

David Szlag

Specific problems that we are investigating utilize qPCR to quantify and identify changes in aquatic microbial communities.  These methods can be applied to recreational water quality, invasive species, and the problems experienced by Toledo and other Lake Erie Water Treatment Plants.  We are also developing new mass spec methods for endocrine disrupting chemicals and cyanobacterial toxins.

Evan Trivedi

Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry

Tetrapyrrole and lanthanide coordination chemistry; synthetic methods

Luminescence spectroscopy; solid state and near-infrared

Therapeutic development in vitro; tissue culture and fluorescence microscopy

Drug development in vivo; molecular imaging in small animal models

Collin Wu

My primary research focus is to dissect the molecular mechanisms by which DNA repair enzymes function and to investigate how their defects contribute to the early onset of genetic disorders. In particular, I am interested in how the FANCJ DNA helicase and the BRCA1 tumor suppressor carry out their DNA repair activities. Mutations in FANCJ and BRCA1 are strongly linked to the onset of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and Fanconi anemia. I use a combination of biochemistry, single-molecule biophysics, and structural approaches to gain a detailed understanding of the macromolecular interactions involved in this DNA repair network.  Work in my lab involves:

* protein-DNA interactions

* enzyme mechanisms

* DNA repair

* cancer metabolism

Ziming Yang

  • Biogeochemical transformation of organic carbon in soils, rivers, and lakes
  • Organic-mineral/metal interactions in the environment
  • Kinetics, mechanisms, and thermodynamics of organic reactions in hydrothermal systems

Mineral-catalyzed reactions in green chemistry

Xiangqun Zeng

My lab is interested in the study of fundamental and applied interfacial phenomena, particularly the design and control of molecular characters and characterizations of the dynamic reactions at electrode interfaces. Current projects in my lab are: (1) Understanding the interfacial composition, structure and properties of ionic liquids and conductive polymers for sensor, electrocatalysis and energy storage applications; (2) Applying principles from chemistry and biology for directed assembly or synthesis of thin films of conductive polymers, biological molecules (peptides, proteins and carbohydrates), cells and inorganics on electrode surfaces; (3) Developing miniaturized analysis platforms that combines high performance, miniaturized electrodes and instrumentation electronics with multi-transduction-mode sensor array devices by collaboration with engineers. All these projects are interdisciplinary in nature that involves the use of multiple electrochemical, spectroscopic and microscopic techniques in order to determine the composition, structure and dynamic interfacial reactions and/or properties at electrode interfaces. By combining the results obtained from diverse in situ techniques (electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance (EQCM), rotating ring disk electrodes (RRDE), cyclic voltammetry (CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), surface plasmon resonance (SPR), ellipsometry, ATR and RA FT-IR, scanning probe techniques (i.e. atomic force microscope (AFM) and scanning tunneling microscope (STM)), fundamental understanding of the electrode interface properties can be obtained. This in turn enables the development of new electrode surfaces in which interesting properties can be tailored by incorporating appropriate inorganic, organic and biological constituents for a broad range of applications from fuel cells, batteries and electrocatalysis for electrochemical energy conversion applications to chemical sensors and biosensors for clinical diagnosis, environmental monitoring and biomedical research.  My research direction is motivated by the increasing needs of new sensor and energy technology relating to national security, health care, the environment, energy, food safety, and manufacturing.



Deadline: March 1, 2018           Notification of Acceptance: TBD

All completed applications must be submitted via email to

Any questions can be submitted via email to 

For more information about the Department of Biological Sciences, please click here.

For more information about the Department of Chemistry, please click here.