National Science Foundation – Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) Program
A summer research experience for undergraduates in chemistry and chemical engineering

"Practices and Perspectives in Nanoscience and Chemical Biology"

The Department of Chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University invites applications for participation in the Research Experience for Undergraduates for the summer of 2019. This program is recommended for funding by the National Science Foundation-Division of Chemistry and an official award notification is pending. The "Practices and Perspectives in Nanoscience and Chemical Biology " program is designed to provide an experience that combines practical training in specific research techniques (practices) with activities designed to put the research into the context of larger goals of modern science and technology (perspectives) specifically in the field of nanoscience and chemical biology. The program will also provide career planning and management components through collaboration with local industry. The research projects offered involve experience in chemical synthesis, data analysis and/or computer modeling. Available research projects are summarized below.

Standard PDF REU_application form                                                REU_recommendation Letter 
Fillable PDF file REU Application Form 2019

Practices and Perspectives in Nanoscience and Chemical Biology program
Research ProjectSkills AnticipatedTechniques to be Used
Direct-Gap Semiconductor (Si and Ge) Nanocrystals for High-Efficiency Solar Cells S, M, A Nanomaterial synthesis, Absorption and emission spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and computational modeling
Nano-catalysis on Size and Shape-Controlled Nanoparticles S, M, A Materials and small-molecule synthesis, TGA, UV/Vis, NMR, EPR, kinetics, and catalysis
Metal and Semiconductor Nanoparticles Supported on Graphene for Energy Conversion and Heterogeneous Catalysis S, M, A Nanoparticle synthesis, Absorption and emission spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, photocatalysis, and computational modeling
Surface Chemical Gradients and their Application in Separation Science S, A Analytical chemistry, chromatography, UV-Vis spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, FTIR micro-spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and materials fabrication
Laser-Assisted Synthesis of Bimetallic Nanoparticles S, M, A Laser synthesis of nanoparticles, UV-VIS spectroscopy and inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry, electron microscopy (SEM and TEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction
Covalent Organic Frameworks for Electrochemical Energy (battery) Storage S, M, A Electron microscopy (SEM and TEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction, surface area and porosimetry, FT-IR, and electrochemistry
New Organic Synthetic Methodology for the Stereo-controlled Synthesis of Bioactive Compounds (drugs) S, A Organic synthesis, Schlenk line operations, reaction monitoring, product isolation and purification, compound characterization, and reaction troubleshooting, HPLC, reactIR, GCMS, UPLCMS, and NMR
New Strategies for Accessing Strained Carbocyclic Compounds via Radical Intermediates S, A Organic synthesis, organo and photoredox catalysis, chromatography, distillation, NMR, mass spectrometry, and cyclic voltammetry
Single Molecule Sensing of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer S, A DNA nanotechnology, fluorescence microscopy, UV-VIS spectrophotometer, fluorometer, thermocycler, autoclaves, and bio-sensing. Students will also have exposure to data analysis software including MATLAB and Origin
Incorporation of Novel Amino Acids and Linkers into Macrocyclic Peptide Libraries S, A Protein and peptide synthesis, fluorescence microscopy, UV-VIS spectrophotometer, biophysical separation, and purification
Investigation of Ferric Iron Intake by Escherichia coli using Particle Collision Electrochemistry S, A Electro-analytical chemistry, fabrication, and testing of ultra-microelectrodes, and bacterial cell growth
Metallo(bio)chemistry and Human Health S, A Bio-inorganic chemistry, syntheses of organic ligands and coordination complexes, GC-MS, HPLC, UV/Vis, fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry, PCR, gel electrophoresis, EPR, and NMR
Key: S = chemical/material/molecular synthesis, M = computational modeling, A = data analysis

This program is ten and one-half weeks long and will run from May 28 until August 9, 2019. During this time, participants will receive a stipend of $5000. In addition, the program will pay dormitory fees, health service fee, and limited travel assistance will be available. This program will also support five students to attend National or Regional ACS Conferences to present their REU projects.

Students who apply to the program must have completed one year of general chemistry and one year of organic chemistry, for applicants in chemistry. Chemical engineering applicants must have completed one year of general chemistry, and one year of chemical engineering courses is desirable. To be eligible, students must be US citizens or Permanent Residents and must not have graduated prior to June 2019. Completed applications, including unofficial transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and one-page personal statement are due no later than March 31, 2019. However, applications will be accepted until all internship positions are filled. Personnel statements should identify the area of research (i.e. chemical biology or nanoscience and nanotechnology) the applicants are interested in.  Please click on the links found at the top of this page to download the application and recommendation forms.


Please email all application materials and recommendation letters to with the subject NSF-REU program.

Please send inquiries to:

Professor Indika U Arachchige,
Phone: (804)-828-6855, Fax: (804)-828-8599

Professor Suzanne M. Ruder,
Phone: (804)-828-7519, FAX: (804)-828-8599