Systems Bioengineering REU

Each summer, UVA trains undergraduates from a variety of STEM backgrounds in the skills, confidence, and mentorship necessary for successful careers in the exciting field of systems bioengineering.

About UVA's REU for Multi-Scale Systems Bioengineering

The objective of the program is to train undergraduates from a variety of STEM backgrounds and provide them with the skills, confidence, and mentorship necessary for successful careers in the exciting field of systems bioengineering. Students will be matched with world-class faculty mentors for a 10-week research project, culminating in a paper and public symposium at the end of the summer.

List of Mentors

Research Immersion

All students will participate in collaborative, hands-on, and closely mentored research ranging in scale from molecular dynamics and bioinformatics to subcellular networks to whole-cell models to tissue, organ, and population-level models. Each project will have strong clinical relevance and immersion in a combination of experimentation and computational analyses.

Boot Camp

A series of "boot-camp" workshops in systems modeling and analysis gives participants the foundational knowledge needed to thrive in the program.

Professional Development

Weekly workshops and seminars will cover topics including biomedical research ethics, communication skills, career advising, scientific communication, and professional development, all of which are necessary to be productive in advanced graduate study and be successfully employed in the modern biotechnology industry.

Tight-Knit Lab Culture

Students in the REU, regardless of mentor, will be fully integrated into their respective labs: listed on lab websites, invited to lab lunches and social events, and expected to attend and participate in lab meetings and journal clubs.

BMES Fall Meeting

Participants will submit their work to the REU track at the national Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) conference and will be earn a travel award to attend the conference, if their poster or talk is selected.


We're invested in our students' success and provide REU alumni with ongoing mentorship after they complete the program.

Charlottesville, Virginia

Your suite for the summer is a 5-minute walk to the UVA Academical Village, the Medical Center, the Aquatic Fitness Center, the Corner, and a free ride to the Downtown Mall. There's music, mountains, localvore food and drink, Monticello and Montpelier, and the Shenandoah National Park. Running, cycling and club sports groups are welcoming. Our REU students are active on the weekends! 

In order to participate in the Summer 2024 REU Program, applicants must be:

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Full-time undergraduate students returning Fall 2024
  • Available for the duration of the 10-week program (May 27 - August 2, 2024)

Additional Information

Students must be enrolled in a science, mathematics, or engineering-based curriculum that includes introductory biology, chemistry, and calculus are especially.  Rising seniors are generally given priority consideration, yet as our Alumni section shows, juniors and sophomores also are very competitive in securing spots in our REU!  Experience in programming is recommended, but not required.  Women, underrepresented minorities, and military veterans are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants must complete an online application form that includes: basic information about you, a resume, an unofficial transcript, some short essays that address the motivation for the program and what you hope to get out of the experience, and two references (preferably academic or supervisory, rather than “community” letters), all to be submitted electronically. We use the NSF REU Common Application "ETAP." This is a common application portal for many NSF-sponsored REU programs across the country.

The website will ask you to create a user account. When your account is created, follow the steps provided on the website to complete the common application. Make sure to select UVA's "Multi-Scale Systems Bioengineering" when selecting the Site to which you want to apply. 

Dates and Deadlines

  • Application Window through April 15, 2024
  • All decisions by April 16, 2024.
  • The program dates are May 27 - August 2, 2024.

Further Detail

  • $6000 stipend for 10-week research program
  • Reimbursement of travel costs up to $400
  • Free on-campus housing and dining plan
  • Introductory “boot camp” short course on systems bioengineering modeling basics and weekly workshops on ethics and professional development
  • Presentation at our Summer Research Symposium - many students earn an additional travel award to present at the fall BMES annual meeting.

Also see our FAQs below.  If you have any questions, please contact:

Kitter Bishop
Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Virginia
Box 800759, Health System
Charlottesville, VA 22908

The UVA Multi-Scale Systems Bioengineering REU is funded by NSF Grant #1950374

Apply to the Systems Bioengineering REU

We use the NSF REU Common Application "ETAP." This is a common application portal for many NSF-sponsored REU programs across the country.

The NSF Education and Training Application Portal (ETAP) system will automatically prompt the letter writers you designate, once you submit your application. As a courtesy, please let your letter writers know that you have applied and should expect this prompt. We strongly recommend that your letters should be from a faculty member, research advisor, or other professional mentor within your discipline who can address your potential, abilities, and motivation for engaging in research. If you have already applied to other REUs, your letters (and your transcripts) should still be in the system.

Is your program in-person and on-campus? Yes! This is a residential, in-person REU.

Are UVA students encouraged to apply?  UVA students are not discouraged to apply.  That said, generally, REU Program Directors are eager to offer opportunities to students outside their home institutions.  Why? Because these students' schools may not be major research institutions or they may not have systems bioengineering and biomedical data science as a research thrust.

Am I matched to a specific lab or mentor when I get my offer?  Usually, there is a delay between being admitted, accepting the position and being matched to a lab and mentor.  That said, the program director, Dr. Allen, has a pretty good idea, before making you an offer, about which specific lab, or which handful of labs, you might match to. And he has already started reaching out those labs ahead of time, so that they, too, can get exicted about you! 


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View of Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge Mountains

Why ’Hoos Love to Call Charlottesville Home

"The cultural scene here is way bigger than something a town of this size should have."

"I fell in love with the institution and the City of Charlottesville. The energy that I felt surrounding almost all the principal investigators towards research was really contagious. I got the impression that there is a fantastic environment encircling the BME department, the school of medicine and the health system, which is fundamental for any successful summer research program. Working every day in the lab for the entire summer exposed me the down time of investigation, the challenges and feelings of incompetence that all investigators feel at some point that leads to growth. It also showed me how to move forward, look for alternative view points and a new focus to solve a problem. "

Ramon Castellanos Ramon Castellanos REU Class of 2018