UConn Offers Undergraduate Research Opportunities in BioGrid Computing

The opportunity to engage in meaningful research is an enormously gratifying, yet often elusive, educational option for undergraduate students. UConn’s Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) department landed a prestigious grant in January, through the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support a special educational program that pairs 10 college students each summer with departmental faculty to participate in ongoing research programs. The program, known as the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, funds undergraduate summer research at designated university programs nationwide, giving students valuable exposure to the academic research environment and motivating them to consider graduate study in technical fields.

Beginning in summer 2008, the three-year CSE REU will convene 10 students at the UConn campus for eight intensive weeks of research in the area of BioGrid initiatives. The REU will be directed by associate professor and principal investigator Chun-Hsi Huang, who wrote the winning NSF proposal. Student participants will be recruited from colleges and universities throughout the nation who are interested in exploring the use of modern grid computing infrastructure to biomedical and biological challenges. Dr. Huang invites applications from interested students by March 16.

Modern grid technology offers researchers a means for sharing Internet-aware resources remotely and dynamically to advance important findings and ideas. For example, epidemiological researchers studying SARS in Asia may exchange large amounts of data with peers around the globe using the BioGrid. While a few fundamental issues – such as interoperability and security – are under further research, the Grids are now becoming a viable solution to a large number of computation- and data-intensive life science applications ranging from molecular and population to social health-care levels.

The REU program format will include introductory seminars designed to familiarize participants with concepts involving modern computing infrastructures, related information technology, as well as research work in life-science disciplines that rely on or benefit from such infrastructures. Each REU student will work closely with participating faculty and graduate students on one of several exciting research projects involving the application of modern computing infrastructure and information technology to research and practice in various life-science disciplines. Among the projects that students will choose from are:

  • Modern Information Infrastructure
  • Protein Function Studies
  • Genomic Knowledge Inference
  • Study of Ethical and Legal Issues
  • Case Studies: caBIG cabig.nci.nih.gov and BIRN www.nbirn.net

REU students will also have the opportunity to participate in the annual international Bio-Grid Workshop. In addition to the invaluable learning experience of working on a state-of-the-art research topic, REU students also receive a $3,600 stipend plus coverage of expenses associated with housing and transportation. REU students will also participate in workshops and discussion groups, weekend cultural and recreational events.

Visit the REU website at http://biogrid.engr.uconn.edu/REU/ for details.

Categories: Computer Science & Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, eFrontier News, Headline, Research Experiences for Undergraduates (, The National Science Foundation (NSF), Undergraduate