• Summer Undergraduate Research


    Biochemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (BSURF)

    The 10-week Biochemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (BSURF), intended for students outside of the University of Iowa, is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience in an active research laboratory, under the direction of an established scientist. The research involves planning and performing experiments in order to answer questions of interest in contemporary biochemistry and research areas include structural biology, genetics, developmental biology and molecular biology. Please visit our faculty page for further information about research interests in the department.

    BSURF provides students with:

    • Full-time, hands-on research in biochemistry and related topics
    • Enrichment activities, including weekly seminars and workshops on graduate school and careers in science
    • The opportunity to present findings in a campus-wide poster session
    • Planned social outings
    • A $4,250 stipend
    • Free housing in a dormitory on the University of Iowa campus

    bsurfStudents are placed in Biochemistry laboratories. In addition to hands-on research, students attend weekly seminars from the Biosciences Program, as well as informational sessions given by Biochemistry faculty members. A sample schedule from the 2015 session is available here. In the last week of the program, students participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Conference, hosted by the Graduate College. Students present posters and discuss their research projects with the public.

    Students who are eligible for the BSURF program:

    • Have completed at least two years of college in a biological science (or related) major
    • Will be returning for at least one year of undergraduate study before graduation
    • Are interested in pursuing graduate school and a career in biological research

    There are no prerequisite courses for acceptance into the program; however, a strong knowledge of organic chemistry and biology is advantageous.

    Prior research experience is not a requirement. BSURF is open to students from anywhere in the United States, and is especially beneficial for students with limited access to research opportunities at their home institution. 

    This program seeks to improve diversity in the biological sciences. Disabled students, minority students, and disadvantaged students (economically or first in family to attend college) are especially encouraged to apply.

    Summer 2016

    This year's program begins on May 23 and runs through July 29, 2016.


    A complete BSURF application includes the application page, transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. The application can be found online. Copies of transcripts can also be uploaded to the application site. Letters of recommendation should be sent via email (preferred) to, or via mail, to:

    BSURF Coordinator
    Department of Biochemistry
    51 Newton Road, 4-403 BSB
    Iowa City, IA, 52242

    The application deadline is February 12, 2016.

    Iowa City in the Summer

    Iowa City gets consistently high ratings from national indexes of great places to live, combining the community atmosphere with a cosmopolitan flair. It offers an abundance of cultural, historical and recreational opportunities similar to those in a large city. The downtown area has a pedestrian mall with unique shops, restaurants and live music, which hosts yearly events such as the Jazz Festival, bike and road races, and several art festivals. In addition, Iowa City is an active community, with many hiking/biking trails and parks to explore. The BSURF program encourages students to take advantage of the many opportunities Iowa City has to offer in the summer.