Students have many opportunities to pursue research while at Ohio State, and several of those are within the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. In addition to the opportunities available within the department, listed below, outside institutions frequently solicit applications from undergraduate students for research experience positions. These can be either paid or unpaid positions and vary in length, and frequently take place over the summer. As we find out about opportunities for CBC students, we post them on the CBC Undergraduate Program Blog.
Two Honors courses have been developed as part of the University's "Early Experience Program". These courses, designated Biochemistry 2900H and 2998H, expose students to emerging research areas and topics in the field of biochemistry and biotechnology. Biochemistry 2900H, offered during Autumn Semester, includes presentations on research trends and topics by faculty, “excursions” to research labs and instrument facilities here at Ohio State, and various panel discussions relating to research and careers in Biochemistry. Biochemistry 2998H, offered during Spring Semester, provides students with the opportunity to become engaged in individual research experiences in some of our laboratories. For more information, contact Dr. Jennifer Ottesen or Dr. Jane Jackman.
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers undergraduates to conduct research for academic credit. Enrolling in Undergradute Research (Chemistry or Biochemistry 4998/H) involves the student's active participation in a research experience in a faculty member's laboratory. Typically the student is assigned his or her own small research project and then conducts laboratory experiments which address a specific scientific question. Students learn how to design experiments, to obtain scientific data, and to interpret that data in a way to provide answers to the research question. A research experience is a great way to interact closely with some of the top research scientists in the world. Past participants have uniformly commented that research makes classroom material much more relevant and meaningful, deepening understanding of their coursework. Undergraduate research is an excellent way to prepare for graduate school, professional school, or a job in the field after graduation. Additionally, because a faculty member gets to know you and your capabilities much better than in a classroom setting alone, stronger and more personalized letters of recommendation often result from an undergraduate research experience.
Honors students have the option to enroll in Chemistry or Biochemistry 4999H, which involves a written thesis. To find out more about this program, contact an Undergraduate Honors Advisor or see the OSU Honors Thesis Oral Examination.
Getting involved in research is easy! Just follow these steps:
- Review the Faculty Research Descriptions alphabetical list or filterable list to find a lab that interests you. Sometimes, faculty seeking new undergraduate researchers will be posted on the CBC Undergraduate Program Blog. However, even if you don't see that a faculty member is actively seeking researchers, contact them anyway!
- E-mail the faculty member to set up an appointment to talk about research opportunities in their lab. There is no need to feel intimidated in contacting our faculty; most are very interested in serving as advisors for undergraduate research and will be pleased to talk with you.
- If the faculty member agrees to have you in their lab, you should discuss scheduling your research hours, start date and number of credits you wish to take (each credit represents approximately 3-5 hours per week in a lab).
- Enroll in the appropriate 4998 course, "Undergraduate Research" (or 4998H,"Honors Research"). Your faculty research advisor will need to sign a course enrollment form [pdf]. Students usually sign up for 1 to 3 credit hours of research per semester. Again, each credit represents approximately 3-5 hours per week in a lab. The number of credit hours will be arranged in consultation with your faculty research advisor.
- A research experience represents a serious commitment in time and effort. Because of this, it is recommended that only students who are doing well in the classroom (GPA > 3.0) should consider this opportunity.
- In order to maximize the outcome of a research experience, students should seriously consider commiting to at least two semesters of research.
- Research takes time. Meaningful progress can usually only be made if you can commit to blocks of time of at least 2-3 hours per session. Trying to accomplish an experimental protocol in one hour between classes usually doesn't work well. Scheduling is usually flexible so your research can be fit into your class schedule. It typically isn't necessary to work every day of the week.
- You need to set up your research project a semester ahead of time. For example, if you want to start research in spring semester, you need to get everything arranged in the fall semester.
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