UVA's NSF REU in Multi-Scale Systems Bioengineering and Biomedical Data Sciences

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.

Please note! For summer 2020, UVA's NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program in multi-scale systems bioengineering and biomedical data science will be a virtual program.  Please see our Summer 2020 Virtual REU webpage for application information and progran details. 

  • Eligibility and Application (Summer 2020)

    In order to participate in the Summer 2020 Virtual REU, applicants must be:

    • U.S. citizens or permanent residents
    • Full-time undergraduate students returning Fall 2020
    • Priority consideration will be given to rising seniors (graduating by summer 2021)
    • Available to work ~15-20 hours/week over the timeframe of the program (June 22 - August 14)
    • Additionally, applicants must have access to broadband internet over the timeframe of the program (June 22 - August 14)


    Additional Information

    Students who have completed at least three years of a science, mathematics, or engineering-based curriculum that includes introductory biology, chemistry, and calculus are especially encouraged to apply.  For this virtual program, experience in programming is strongly 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 motivation for the program and what you hope to get out of the virtual research experience, and two references (preferably academic or supervisory, rather than “community” letters), all to be submitted electronically. We are using the NSF’s REU common application portal

    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

    • Priority review for applications will begin on June 1, 2020.
    • The deadline for completed applications (including support letters) is midnight on June 14, 2020
    • The program dates are June 22 - August 14, 2020.


    If you have any questions, please contact:

    Hannah Moore
    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 #1560282

    NSF Common REU Application
  • Letters of Support

    The NSF Common Application 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.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What will a typical week be like? Read more about what a typical week may look like in a remote-mentored REU in this Message from the Program Director Dr. Timothy Allen.

    If I do this REU, may I also do a summer session course? Is that possible? In terms of time, yes. The REU is 15-20 hours per week.  But please weigh the fact that is a demanding remote-mentored REU in computational modeling / data science topics. So it's going to involve mostly screen time. As will your summer session course. That's one factor. A second factor is what Dr. Allen mentions in his Message. The work you do in the REU will be remote-mentored but self-directed.  We will be supportive, but you will be ultimately reponsible for your own learning and performance in the program. SO: make sure you have the bandwidth to excel in all your endeavors this summer!

    I'm a UVA student. Can I apply? Yes, UVA students may apply!  In fact, we have extra funds from the UVA Engineering Office of Diversity and Engagement to support about 5 students who are returning UVA students. On top of that, we may use REU funds to support an additional returning UVA students.  Women, underrepresented minorities, and military veterans are especially encouraged to apply.

    Are you only selecting rising seniors into the Virtual REU? No, but especially for non-UVA students, we are looking first at the applications of rising seniors, because this may be the last opportunity for a senior to try this kind of research on for size prior to graduation. However, non-seniors have certainly proved extremely competitive in our REU in past years!  Women, underrepresented minorities, and military veterans are especially encouraged to apply.

    Send your further questions to SystemsBioengREU@virginia.edu.


Ramon Castellanos, REU Class of 2018

"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, REU Class of 2018 "Agent Based Model of Intramuscular Fat Infiltration"

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 dorm 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 and cycling groups are welcoming. Our REU students are active on the weekends! 

Why ’Hoos Love to Call Charlottesville Home

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