Center for Biomedical Research

Hannah Hall of Science, Room 276
244 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4451
(location map)
(248) 370-3420
Fax (248) 370-3408

Yang Xia, Director

Summer Research Program in Biological Sciences and Chemistry

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Biological Sciences and Chemistry for Summer 2023 is currently closed. Please check back in January 2023.

The program will run TBD

The Summer Research Program is a unique opportunity to conduct independent research projects in biological science, biomedical science, chemistry, or environmental science. Under the guidance of a faculty member, students will gain experience in the methods of scientific research, with the goal of exposing talented undergraduate students to the practices of a professional scientific career. At the conclusion of the program, students will demonstrate improved technical, critical thinking and communication skills.

For the application form, please click on "Fellowships" below.

  • Students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA to be eligible for the program, and be registered at Oakland University at least part-time (6 credits) in the Winter 2022 semester and at least part-time in the Fall 2022 semester in a degree seeking program to be eligible for the program.
  • The Summer Research Program is a 12-week program during the summer of 2022.
  • Students will work one on one with a Principal Investigator (PI) on a research project in a laboratory setting.
  • Students are encouraged to take no more than one course during the summer 2022 semester. Any plans to take summer classes must be approved by the advising PI, as coursework may interfere with participation in the program.
  • Awardees are expected to work 30 hrs/week but not more than 40 hrs/wk for the duration of the program. The total time commitment for the 12 weeks is 405 hours for the full $4000. Awardees will be paid by the hour.
  • All students will participate in a symposium at the end of the program and provide a short presentation based upon their research project. Student are also required to participate in bi-weekly seminars throughout the duration of the program.
  • Awardees are also encouraged to continue with their research project during the academic year by enrolling in BIO 4995, BCM 4995, or CHM 4995.
  • Students with an existing PI that has agreed to support their SURP 2022 participation should follow the regular SURP application procedures. On the application, select the supporting PI as the first choice mentor and indicate the funding source given by the PI. The supporting PI should confirm this information in their letter of recommendation for the student.

College of Arts and Science Summer Research Fellowships
Oakland University undergraduates majoring in Biological Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Chemistry or Biochemistry with expected graduation in Fall 2022 or later, are eligible to apply. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in science courses taken at OU is required for the fellowship. An interview may be requested.

Department of Biological Sciences Summer Research Fellowships
Oakland University undergraduates majoring in Biological Science or Biomedical Sciences with an expected graduation of Fall 2022 or later, are eligible to apply. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in science courses taken at OU is required for this fellowship. An interview may be requested.

Department of Chemistry Summer Research Fellowships
Oakland University undergraduates majoring in Environmental Sciences, Chemistry or Biochemistry with an expected graduation of Fall 2022 or later, are eligible to apply. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in science courses taken at OU is required for this fellowship. An interview may be requested.

Dershwitz Summer Research Fellowship
Oakland University undergraduates majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry with an expected graduation of Fall 2022 or later, are eligible to apply. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 during the previous four semesters of study is required for this fellowship. An interview may be requested.

Oakland University Summer Research Fellowships
Oakland University undergraduates majoring in Biological Science, Biomedical Science, Environmental Science, Chemistry or Biochemistry with an expected graduation of Fall 2022 or later, are eligible to apply.. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in science courses taken at OU is required for this fellowship. An interview may be requested.

Application materials must include:

  1. A completed application (available in electronic format here). In the application, please list three mentors from the list below that you are interested in working with for the summer program.
  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 must 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 at OU and transcripts of courses not taken at OU. Please save all transcripts as one file in either .doc(x), .pdf, or .jpeg format.

Deadline: March 7, 2022          Notification of Acceptance: April 11, 2022

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.

Mentors from
Biological Sciences

Mentors – Biological Sciences

Dr. Elizabeth Delorme-Axford
Autophagy is a highly conserved pathway (from yeast to human) of cellular self-eating that is essential for metabolism and survival during stress. Current research interests in the lab are focused on identifying mechanisms regulating autophagy and mitophagy in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Students can expect to incorporate biochemical, molecular, and cell biological techniques in their projects. Students planning to select Dr. Delorme-Axford as a preferred PI should contact her at before submitting their application.

Dr. Chhabi Govind
Role of epigenetic modifications in regulating chromatin structure genome-wide.
Govind lab focuses on understanding how DNA is made accessible for the factors involved in DNA-dependent processes. The students will be involved in performing genomic experiments using cutting-edge molecular biology techniques. In particular, they will perform CUT&RUN, which allows determination of a factor binding levels and sites to a base-pair resolution. They will also learn to analyze and interpret genomics data using latest bioinformatic techniques. This will be an excellent opportunity for those students are interested in Gene-regulation, Epigenetic and Genetic regulation of gene-expression, and also for those who would like to learn Bioinformatic analyses of genomic data.
Dr. Mary Jamieson
Research in the Jamieson lab examines ecological interactions among species, in particular plants, insects, and microbes. This work aims to inform biodiversity conservation, natural resource management, and sustainable agriculture. A central theme in the Jamieson lab is understanding how plant chemistry mediates interactions with pollinators, herbivores, and microbes, including both antagonistic and beneficial species. Research focuses on plant compounds that are important not only for the ecology of species interactions but also for human health. Some examples of these compounds include phenolic compounds which are important antioxidants and terpenoid compounds which have anti-microbial, insecticidal, nutraceutical, and pharmacological properties. For further information, please visit the Jamieson lab website ( Students applications should also contact Dr. Jamieson at to discuss research opportunities before submitting an application.
Dr. Shailesh Lal
The SURP project in my lab will investigate the conserved role of a novel mRNA splicing factor encoding RBM48 gene between maize plants and humans.  RBM48 is intricately involved in the splicing of a small novel group of distinct U12 introns found in most plants and animals including humans.  Mutations that interfere with the splicing of U12 introns is associated with proliferative growth mimicking cancer in both plants and animals.  The project will entail CRISPR-Cas9 mediated knockout of RBM48 in human stem cells to investigate the role of this gene in cell differentiation and proliferation.  It will be an excellent opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in implementing CRISPR-Cas9 in vivo gene editing technology for manipulation of gene expression in human stem cells with impact on biomedical implication.  For details of ongoing research in Shailesh's laboratory, please visit his lab website (
Dr. Jiang Lan
Jiang lab's research focuses on the mechanisms of tubular organ formation using Drosophila trachea as a model. Current project is the investigation of the role of novel Osiris gene family in trachea tube morphogenesis. Cellular, molecular, and genetic approaches will be  used to analyze the function of these novel genes.
Dr. Zijuan Liu
Dr Liu is interested in the roles of membrane transporters in brain physiology and pathology. More specifically, we aim to examine the roles of zinc transporter ZIP8 in regulating downstream molecular targets in brain. Our long-term goal is to elucidate the roles of trace elements and their respective transporters in disorders such as autism and Alzheimer’s. Student applicants must contact the prospective mentor at before submitting the application.
Dr. Taras Oleksyk
Taras K. Oleksyk is interested in the study of genome diversity and its implications to evolutionary processes of adaptation and speciation.  His research interests are in evolution, bioinformatics and comparative genomics as it relates to adaptation, speciation and disease. His lab has scientific interests in two general areas. First area is in genomics and admixture of human populations and the analysis of the candidate disease genes in the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. Second general area is in the genomics and evolution of animals, especially in conservation genetic of endangered species.
Dr. Tom Raffel
Raffel lab research focuses on the ecology of parasitic diseases in aquatic animals. Current projects are focused on applying metabolic theory based mathematical models to describe the temperature dependence of a fungal disease of frogs and salamanders, and on determining ecological drivers of snail-borne parasitic diseases of humans and wildlife. Student applicants must contact the prospective mentor at before submitting the application.
Dr. Mi Hye Song
Song lab is interested in understanding molecular and genetic mechanisms of Centrosome biogenesis; Mitotic spindle assembly and function; Cell cycle regulation using the nematode C. elegans model. 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/Cas9, RNA-seq, RNAi, and high-resolution confocal imaging. Please feel free to contact Dr. Song ( if you have any questions regarding summer research project.
Dr. Douglas Wendell
The Wendell lab uses genetic analysis to monitor for potentially invasive strains of the common reed Phragmites australis.  This plant exists in both native and invasive strains, but they are sometimes difficult to distinguish by appearance.  We are investigating whether atypical stands of this plant have a unique genotype.  Student applicants must contact the prospective mentor at before submitting the application.


Mentors from

Mentors - Chemistry

Dr. Adam Avery
The research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control morphogenesis and maintenance of intricate neuronal structures, and how these mechanisms are disrupted to cause neurological disease.  The lab employs protein biochemical, and genetic and live imaging approaches using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly).   Students in the lab have the unique opportunity to explore questions in neurobiology at both the single molecule and whole organism level.
Dr. Thomas Bianchette
Dr. Bianchette’s research interests include natural hazards, sedimentology, Quaternary paleoenvironments, paleoclimatology, and coastal dynamics.  Field work consists of sediment coring and extracting surface samples from lacustrine, beach, and marsh environments.  Laboratory techniques include geological (e.g., loss-on-ignition), biological (e.g., pollen, charcoal), and chemical (e.g., x-ray fluorescence) proxies. 
Dr. Kodiah Beyeh
It is very challenging to develop new materials with well-defined properties based on specially designed properties of the molecular constituents for the translation of the intrinsic properties of molecules into material properties. It is therefore essential to have control over the molecular interactions and orientation to create function in the material. In our group, we work on designing supramolecular materials through high-affinity and selective binding of several bioanalytes with synthetic supramolecular receptors possessing defined cavities. As a Summer Student in our group, you would perform cutting-edge experiments in a dynamic research environment. You would learn how to prepare different receptor-substrate assemblies and investigate their chemical and physical properties with the use of novel experimental techniques such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, Mass spectrometry, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC), Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) etc).
Dr. Roman Dembinski
  • Novel Synthetic Methods
  • Nucleoside (DNA/RNA) Analogs
  • Bioorganic and Organometallic Chemistry
  • Fluorous Chemistry
Dr. Zacharias Kinney
Our primary research theme is to blend traditional and modern synthetic techniques to develop functional materials for a variety of applications. Three different scaffolds: naphthodithiophenes, ditopic carbenes, and macrocycles containing main group heterocycles are of interest. Depending on the scaffold chosen, applications in organic electronics, molecular receptors/sensors, and catalysis are feasible. Student researchers will be exposed to traditional synthetic and inert atmosphere (Schlenk line and glovebox) techniques, as well as standard purification (column chromatography, crystallization) and characterization (1D/2D nuclear magnetic resonance, NMR).
Dr. Alexander Rusakov
Dr. Rusakov's research is in the area of chemical theory and computation with an emphasis on heavy elements. Combining bespoke approaches of relativistic quantum chemistry and condensed-matter physics with efficient algorithms and massively parallel computations, his group focuses on predictive modeling of complex and experimentally challenging heavy-element systems. Of particular interest are heavy radionuclide compounds for targeted alpha-particle cancer therapy and theoretical insights into cutting-edge experiments on the identification of superheavy elements. The Summer Research Program in Rusakov's group will introduce students to the development of modern computational chemistry methods and their application to modeling complex heavy-element systems of fundamental and practical interest. Ideally, students would pursue publishing their results in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Dr. 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
Dr. Zhe Wang
We are focusing on the interfacial material and phenomena study, particularly on the molecular reactions at the electrode/liquid/gas interface, using electrochemistry and spectroscopy method.
  1. Fundamental study of small molecules electrochemical synthesis and conversion derived in the green chemistry systems.
  2. Using the predictable and tunable bio-interface to design a highly specified small molecule and biomarker quantification for in vivo and in vitro testing.
Sensor array detection and system integration.
Dr. Colin Wu
The 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, 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. A combination of biochemistry, single-molecule biophysics, and structural approaches to use to gain a detailed understanding of the macromolecular interactions involved in this DNA repair network.  Work in the lab involves:
  • Protein-DNA interactions
  • Enzyme mechanisms
  • DNA repair
  • Cancer metabolism

Dr. Ziming Yang

  • Biogeochemical transformation of soil organic matter
  • Mineral-organic interactions
  • Green chemistry in geological systems
  • Wastewater treatment
Dr. Xiangqun Zeng
Dr. Zeng's research programs center on analytical, surface and electrochemistry at solid electrode interfaces and development of new analytical techniques. She has established an internationally recognized, interdisciplinary research program in developing next generation chemical sensor and biosensors for in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo, in situ detection of important chemical and bioanalytes with high temporal, spatial resolution and sensitivity (e.g. single molecule or single entity) for a broad range of applications  including critical health care, safety, industrial hygiene, process controls, product quality controls, food safety, climate change, manufacturing, human comfort controls, emission monitoring, automotive, clinical diagnostics, home safety alarms, homeland security etc. See details at her website at