2024 Summer PreMiEr Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

Key Information

Who: Current undergraduate or community college students with a graduation date after September 2024
When: June 2nd – July 20th, 2024 (recently updated!)
Where: One of PreMiEr’s participating North Carolina universities
Application due date: February 15th, 2024 (recently updated!)
Application link: https://etap.nsf.gov/award/740/opportunity/6932

The NSF Engineering Research Center for Precision Microbiome Engineering (PreMiEr) is pleased to announce its Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program for the Summer of 2024.

The REU program invites undergraduate and community college students into the labs of PreMiEr researchers at either Duke University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina State University, or The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to perform cutting-edge research on various aspects of the microbiomes of the built environment.


The overall mission of PreMiEr is to improve the health of buildings and indoor spaces in which humans spend the majority of their time through modification of the microbes that inhabit those structures. We know that the microorganisms that live on and in the human body can have significant impacts on our health and can contribute to diseases such as asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, IBS/IBD, and even mental health disorders. However, exactly how our bodies acquire these microbes and the interactions between our own microbiomes and the environments surrounding us is less clear. PreMiEr projects focus on different aspects of this grand challenge including measuring, modifying, and modeling microbiomes. Students with experience and interest in microbiology, bioinformatics, engineering, and related subjects are encouraged to apply.

In the application, students will be asked to rank their interest in specific topics/project. While efforts will be made to match student interest and experience to projects, placement on specific campuses, in specific labs, or within specific projects is not guaranteed.

Program Description

Students in the REU will spend the first three days of the program on the campus of Duke University in Durhan, NC (recently updated!) for an initial boot camp and introduction to the center. Afterwards, students will spend their remaining time in the program on the campus of their host institution:

    • Duke (Durham, NC)
    • NC A&T (Greensboro)
    • NC State (Raleigh)
    • UNC Chapel Hill (either Chapel Hill or the Institute for Marine Sciences in Morehead City)

During their experience, students will gain hands-on experience in the lab, learn valuable professional and scientific development skills, be included in lab group meetings, and participate in events and seminar series with PreMiEr faculty, graduate students, and post-docs. Participants will conclude their experience with a poster session to the center membership.

Benefits and Time Commitment

Accepted students will receive a stipend of $5,400 and up to $600 that can be used for travel to and from the program and for related transportation costs such as parking passes (for participants with a vehicle). Housing will provided at no cost to accepted applicants. Students are expected to participate full-time (40 hours per week, excluding holidays) in the program. Absences must be arranged in advance with both the PreMiEr REU Program Lead and the student’s individual faculty mentor at their host institution.

Application Process

Applicants are required to be US citizens or permanent residents who are currently enrolled as an undergraduate or community college student with a graduation date later than September 2024. PreMiEr encourages applicants from a variety of identities and lived experiences, such as those from historically marginalized or underserved communities in STEM, to apply.

To apply:

    • Complete the online form on the NSF ETAP site linked above, including the following documents:
      • A brief personal statement
      • Two (2) letters of recommendation
      • A transcript from your current school and any other undergraduate institution you have attended
      • A 1-page resume

Applications will open December 20th, 2023 and close on February 1, 2024.

Please email questions about the program to: premier_erc@duke.edu