Research Experiences for Undergraduates:

Photo depicting Biogeography of Biotransformations for Halogenated Organic Compounds: A Comparison of the Tropics, Temperate, and Sub-Arctic Environments

What is this program?

Photo: Students in China. This program BITTSE (BIotransformation in the Tropics, Temperate and Sub-arctic Environments) is an intensive research experience for undergraduate students interested in or studying environmental sciences, environmental sustainability, microbiology, chemistry, contaminant clean-up, environmental restoration, biogeochemistry.

Our overarching goal is comparison of biotransformation processes carried out by naturally occurring microbes in the environment across distant geographic regions. Questions to be asked include, do geographically unrelated microbial communities develop similar or different modes for metabolizing globally distributed contaminants? How similar or dissimilar are the organisms, the genes or the proteins responsible for the metabolism? What are the effects of the degradation products on the environment?

As an NSF-REU scholar, you will receive a stipend and your expenses will be covered. A group of you will travel to Guangzhou China, to study microorganisms in a tropical environment. A second group will go to Finland to work with sub-arctic microbial communities, and a third group will work at Rutgers with sediment microorganisms in the temperate region. All students will meet together at the start of the program to formulate the common approach to their particular research project and then at the end of the program to share the results of their work.

Why apply?

  • Gain first hand research experience in an important environmental problem.
  • Experience the universal nature of scientific inquiry that does not stop at international borders.
  • Learn collaborative research and communication skills.
  • Receive academic credit and have an opportunity to live and work at an international location.

When and where?

Photo: Students in Finland. This is a ten-week program that starts on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, and ends on Friday, August 1, 2014. All participants will receive a $5,000 stipend, plus travel/lodging costs will be covered. You can indicate in your application if you have a preference to go to China, to Finland, or to stay at Rutgers. Students going to China will be at the School of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, China. Those going to Finland will be at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki in Lahti, Finland. Students from underrepresented groups or from institutions with limited research opportunities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Who can apply?

You must hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency and be enrolled in an undergraduate program leading to a bachelor's degree. You should have completed at least 2 years of coursework and must still be an undergraduate in the Fall 2014. If you wish to go to one of our international sites, you will need a U.S. passport that does not expire before March 2015. Preference will be given to students who have completed their 3rd year of study and have taken relevant courses in the fields of biology and chemistry. Ability to speak Chinese or Finnish, although very helpful, is not required to go to the international sites.

How to apply?

The application due date for 2014 has passed.

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