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Research Experience and Mentoring Program (NSF REM)

Much work remains to diversify STEM fields within academia and industry, and hands-on scientific research experience is particularly effective at engaging groups underrepresented in STEM. The primary goal of the NSF-supported CPGE Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) Program is to contribute to the development of a diverse, inclusive scientific workforce through a 6-week hands-on research experience for undergraduate students who may not otherwise become engaged in a research project. The REM focuses on outreach and support for women, individuals with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities (URMs) via existing and novel recruitment and retention practices, targeted instruction, mentorship, and community building.

Northwestern faculty participating in three different National Science Foundation Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation: Chromatin and Epigenetic Engineering awards will serve as mentors for this REM program. These mentors study the structure, function, and fundamental principles of chromatin, an intricately folded group of macromolecules including DNA, RNA, and proteins that houses genetic information within cells and determines which genes get suppressed or expressed. Their research aims to understand how to reversibly regulate, control, and even reprogram global patterns of gene expression without altering the genes themselves, which has wide implications in the treatment of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

These mentors provide Research Participants (RPs) wide-ranging opportunities to train in research areas including molecular biology, bioengineering, physics, optics, chemistry, or medicine and enable RPs to participate in research projects involving the physical manipulation of living systems in the pursuit of new strategies for the treatment of disease.

Ultimately, this REM aims to engage URM students in STEM and convergent science, provide students from minority-serving institutions with expanded resources through partnering with research universities, and create a pipeline for URM students to move into NU and other graduate programs. The REM provides RPs with foundational scientific skills through an evidence-based approach to training, experiential learning,  workshops, and seminars. In addition, RPs are monitored by faculty with outstanding records of productivity and mentorship and who will provide ongoing review, evaluation, and mentoring of trainees with the goal of creating a resilient, diverse cadre of future scientific professionals.

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