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Agrobacterium Interacting with Carrot Cells showing Bacterial Cellulose Fibrils (Ann Matthysse Lab)

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How to enroll in Biology research for credit

The Biology Department will register you for your research classes –  BIOL 395, BIOL 495, BIOL 395H, and BIOL 692H.  First, find a full-time Biology faculty member who will be willing to mentor you in your research. Don’t wait until the start of the semester to find someone to work with.  These are due by the first day of classes in all semesters.  If you choose to work with someone outside the Biology Department, you will need to find a full-time Biology faculty member to sponsor you.  Then, pick up a research application  from our Biology Registrar, Summer Montgomery in 213 Coker Hall.  No electronic or scanned applications will be accepted.  There are separate applications for BIOL 395/395H/495 doing a final paper (blue) and BIOL 395/395H doing a poster (green).  For BIOL 395/395H/495, you will need to bring in a copy of your internal transcript pulled from Connect Carolina along with your application.  A new application is required for each semester!

For BIOL 692H, please see the BIOL Senior Honors Thesis link under Honors – BIOL & UNC on left side menu on this website.

Identify a faculty mentor/PI of the Lab

The first step to doing undergraduate research is to find a faculty mentor/PI of the Lab. Choosing the right mentor and laboratory will have a large impact on your research experience and deserves serious effort and preparation on your part. Faculty do not generally advertise undergraduate research positions and, therefore, you will have to actively seek out a mentor. You do not need to have a particular research project in mind, just the desire to do research. Your faculty mentor can be someone from the Department of Biology or someone in a related discipline outside the department. If you plan to do research for Biology 395/495 course credit and you choose a mentor outside the Department of Biology you will also need a full time Biology faculty sponsor who will be willing to meet with you on a regular basis and keep track of what you are accomplishing in your mentor’s laboratory.  Because this is a BIOL research section, a BIOL faculty member must submit your grade.

To identify a potential faculty mentor we suggest talking to professors from whom you have taken classes and scanning individual faculty web pages to identify a research program in an area of particular interest to you. (See these listings of faculty on the Research Areas page) Ideally, you will identify several possible mentors. Contact the individual faculty member(s) in person, by phone, or by email to set up an appointment to talk about the possibility of undertaking an undergraduate research project in their laboratories.  Professors are generally more than willing to talk with students about their research programs. However, students should recognize that not all faculty have the space, time, or resources to mentor every interested undergraduate, and some faculty may not able to consider you for a position in their laboratories. Therefore, it is advisable to consider multiple faculty members. Perseverance in finding a mentor will almost always be rewarded. We suggest that you start looking for a mentor one semester before you would like to begin a research project.

Don’t wait until the start of the semester to look for a research advisor or faculty sponsor!  You will have to submit a new application/transcript for each semester you do research.  Pick up the most updated research application form in 213 Coker Hall.  This is a contract and we need a paper copy with original signatures (signed in ink, please) that we must keep on file per university policy.

Tips for how to find a Research Mentor

Tips for how to contact faculty about a research position

For more information, please contact:

BIOL 395/395H/495 – Dr Gidi Shemer,

BIOL 395/395H Poster – Dr Blaire Steinwand,

BIOL 692H – Dr Amy Shaub Maddox,