Summer “Virtual” REU in Multi-Scale Systems Bioengineering and Biomedical Data Sciences

This unusual summer, the University of Virginia is hosting a “virtual” version of our NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in multi-scale systems bioengineering and biomedical data science.

Program Dates:

  • Program dates are June 22 - August 14, 2020
  • Rolling application review begins June 1st.
  • All application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be received by midnight on June 14.


  • Priority consideration will be given to students who will graduate by Summer 2021 (rising seniors or equivalent).
  • $2000 stipend for 8-week part-time research program
  • Introductory “boot camp” short course on systems bioengineering modeling basics
  • Weekly workshops on ethics and professional development
  • Presentation at a virtual Systems Biology and Biomedical Data Science Summer Research Symposium
  • Opportunity for travel funds to present at the Fall Biomedical Engineering Society conference (BMES)

The objective of the Summer 2020 program is to provide a limited-scope virtual research training experience for undergraduates and provide them with skills, confidence, and mentorship in the exciting field of systems bioengineering and biomedical data science. A small cohort of students will be matched with research laboratories to work part-time on an 8-week research project, culminating in an abstract and a virtual symposium presentation.

    Since students will not be able to be physically present in research labs at the University of Virginia due to safety restrictions with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all projects will be conducted remotely and will necessarily involve computational modeling and/or data science rather than “wet-lab” experimentation.

    Interaction with lab mentors will be a lot more limited than in a typical year. Read more about what a typical week may look like in this message from program director Dr.Timothy Allen.  Thus, participants should demonstrate their effectiveness in working independently and comfort in taking the lead on their own project and learning. In addition to the virtual research experience, the program will also provide students with career advising, grounding in research ethics, training in scientific communication and ongoing mentorship after completion of the program.

      • 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