GETTING STARTED GUIDE
for UG BIO RESEARCH
Interested students are encouraged to initiate faculty-sponsored independent research in their sophomore or junior year. Some students even start their independent research in their freshman year. Undergraduate Research allows students to participate in experiments that are pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. Many students have described this experience as one of the most exciting and rewarding in their undergraduate years.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
What area of biology interests you the most?
The introductory biology core courses (Bio 201, 202, 203) give you an introduction to the research conducted by different departments:
Ecology and Evolution (Bio 201)
Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Bio 202)
Neurobiology and Behavior (Bio 203)
Once you have identified your special area of interest, then look up that particular department. From the Bio Webpage (http://www.stonybrook.edu/ugbiology) click on “Research” and then on “Research Quick Links.” That will take you to the department web sites. Then look into “Faculty” or “Faculty Research Interests.” Gather a list of 5-6 faculty members whose work you find particularly interesting. Do not neglect to look at other departments such as those in the HSC. Many, such as Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics and Pathology, have faculty whose research interests would be very appropriate for Undergraduates.
HOW DO I CONTACT A RESEARCHER?
When you are ready, contact the faculty members on your list via e-mail, one at a time. Introduce yourself in the e-mail; describe the courses you have taken, your grades, your GPA, your major, why and when you’re interested in working with them and request an appointment. If you haven’t received a response to your e-mail in about 2 weeks then call the faculty member and ask if he/she has had the opportunity to consider your request and whether you can set up a meeting. Don’t get discouraged if you are turned down. That’s why you have a list with several names on it. Bring your (unofficial OK) transcript and details of any special courses you have taken, any special activities or jobs of interest to your meeting with a potential faculty sponsor.
I WILL NEED A PROJECT
Once a faculty sponsor is interested in having you work in his/her lab, you’ll discuss and design a research project with your sponsor.
WILL I GET BIO MAJOR CREDIT?
You can apply up to 4 credits of biology independent research from
Bio 486 Research in Neurobiology and Physiology
487 Research in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
489 Research in Ecology and Evolution)
towards your Bio major or 2 credits towards you minor. If you are following the General Biology Track, then research credits in these courses can also be used to meet the depth requirements for the major. Another option is to use four (4) credits and at least two (2) semesters of independent biology research (BIO 486, BIO 487, BIO 489) with the same sponsor to replace one upper division laboratory course for the major.
HOW DO I REGISTER?
Pick up a registration form in the Biology Main Office (G-05 CMM/BLL; 631-632-8530) to register for Bio 486, or 489. Pick up the form in the Biochemistry Main Office (450 Life Sciences; 631-632-8550) to register for Bio 487. You and your sponsor will fill out the form together. You must write a paragraph about your chosen research project. Finally, return the completed form and the paragraph to the Biology or the Biochemistry Main Office. The registration form has to be approved before registration.
Getting Started Guide
Undergraduate Biology, 107-112 CMM/BLL, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5110 - 631 632-8530, 631-632-1680 (fax)