Undergraduate Research NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Award
In recognition of PTEI’s expertise and success in exposing undergraduate students to the wonders and promise of tissue engineering research, the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative (PTEI) has been awarded a new Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for implementation of a new REU site entitled, Multicultural Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Structural Tissue Engineering (#EEC-0648781).
NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates AwardThe NSF REU programs support active research participation by undergraduate students, recruited from a national applicant pool, in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU project grants aim to involve enlarged and diverse numbers of students, recruited from a national applicant pool, in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects designed especially for the purpose.
The PTEI 10-week REU site program will provide undergraduate students a fundamental understanding of underlying biological and engineering principles of structural tissue engineering (TE). The PTEI REU will expose students to real-world problems and solutions, increasing the satisfaction students get from their education, and stimulate them to continue working on exploratory projects. By working as a team member in a highly interdisciplinary research environment, undergraduate students become active in developing practical solutions beneficial to society, providing an initial glance at how they might apply their knowledge. Undergraduate students will be mentored by faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral trainees.
To enhance the research experience, a variety of activities has been incorporated, i.e. seminars and workshops designed to introduce students to and inform them about "hot topics" in TE and career opportunities in academia and industry. Participants will also take a short course to address the interdisciplinary nature of TE and issues not addressed in standard undergraduate engineering and science curriculum. Several cultural and social activities are planned for students which will help foster the cohort experience. At the end of the REU program, students will be required to give a 3-5 minute oral overview of his/her research project, prepare and submit an abstract, and present a research poster. Finally, REU participants will receive a program completion certificate.
What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? The primary goal of this REU program is to enhance the exposure of underserved and underrepresented minorities--including students from 2-year community colleges, non-research-based 4-year institutions, and U.S. Veterans who are returning from active duty--to collaborative, interdisciplinary research in structural TE.
Research outcomes will be disseminated by presentations at the final poster session, professional meetings, and publications with undergraduates as co-authors and/or credited for their contributions.