HHMI logo

University of Washington Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Programs

News and Deadlines

Upcoming Events

SILS Retrospective: Learning from Our Teachers, August 2012
Thanks to all who participated in this special meeting to celebrate 23 yrs of our programs for in-service K-12 teachers!

Application Deadlines

Interested in the Biology Fellows Program?
BIOL 106, the BFP course, is now a regular course provided by the Biology Department. See an adviser in HCK 318 for more info.
Interested in the Future Faculty Fellows Teaching Apprenticeships?
Contact R. Price or M. Servetnick at UW Bothell for more info.


Our Updated Web Site
Please explore the program pages to see the resources and articles developed by our UW-HHMI team.
Our National Lab Day Celebration!
To learn more about our NLD celebration for middle school kids, see our K-12 outreach page.
In Print...
Read the 2012 article about the Biology Fellows Program in CBE-LSE (in press):
"Facilitating Long-Term Changes in Student Approaches to Learning Science"
Congratulations to UW-HHMI Participants & Awardees
Gilliam Fellowship Awardee: Martha Zepeda Rivera

HHMI EXROP Awardee: Elischa Sanders

Levinson Emerging Scholar: Marvin Nayan

President's Achievement Awardee: Denise Della

Bank of America Scholar: Jose Mario Pineda

Wells Fargo Vice President’s Achievement Awardee: Erica Chavez Santos

McNair Scholar: Elizabeth Emau, Chinonso Opara, Martha Zepeda Rivera

Mary Gates Scholar: Justin De Leon, Denise Della, Mauna Edrozo, Brittany Harding, Shereen Khorami, Megan Lacy, Helen Lai, Nathan Ma, Kevin Magnaye, Chantal Murthy, Alex Nelson, Kien-Thiet Nguyen, Jose Pineda, Claire Powers, Neela Ramanujam, Keiko Weir, Yue Xiang, Simon Zhou, Jessie Zou

S.M.A.R.T. Challenge Winning Team: Alexis Brendible, Veronica Rodriguez, Yesenia Rosales, and Erica Chavez Santos

Emerging Researchers National Meeting Presentation Awardees: Klondy Canales and Thien-Y Le

Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Presenters: Nadya Ali, Jennifer Cross, Rebecca de Frates, and Cynthia Wainaina

From 2006-2012, UW-HHMI opportunities for undergraduates included the Biology Fellows Program for beginning students interested in biology, the Integrative Research Internship Program and the Friday Harbor Labs Research Apprenticeships for undergraduate researchers, and the UW-HHMI Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium for all students.

UW-HHMI also provided support that enabled undergraduates to attend scientific conferences and present their research to university-wide, regional, and national audiences. We also participated in the HHMI's Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP) by nominating our students for this competitive program and helping University of Washington HHMI Investigators host visiting EXROP students.

We also collaborated with other HHMI-funded Science Education Programs located in the Pacific Northwest to share best practices and a student exchange program. For more information about this regional Northwest HHMI Network, please see the NW HHMI page.

Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium

UW-HHMI Integrative Research Interns and other undergraduate researchers presented research posters at the autumn UW-HHMI Department of Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium. They discussed their research with peers, graduate students, postdoctoral scientists, and faculty from departments across the UW. The symposium also inspired pre-majors by providing opportunities to interact with more senior undergraduates who were engaged in research and introduced them to strategies for finding research opportunities.


Biology Fellows Program

The Biology Fellows Program (BFP) was established in 2003 and continued as an HHMI-funded program through Spring 2012.

The BFP recruited diverse cohorts of bioscience pre-majors (freshmen and sophomores) and supported their development as successful science students. We partnered with the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and the Department of Biology Academic Advisers to recruit and support students who expressed a strong desire to make the most of their undergraduate experiences and pursue the following aims:

  • Succeed in the introductory biology series (BIOL 180, 200, 220) and other bioscience courses
  • Learn to think like a scientist and explore science culture
  • Learn about research, scholarship, and training opportunities
  • Receive helpful input for planning academic and professional pathways
  • Join a diverse community of UW biology students and mentors

A key feature of the program was the BFP course, BIOL 106, which Biology Fellows completed before enrolling in the UW's gateway introductory biology series. Beginning Autumn Quarter 2012, the Department of Biology incorporated BIOL 106 into its regular offering of courses for biology undergraduates.

What participants say:

Now I know that I have resources to help me plan my studies, find extracurricular opportunities, and succeed in Biology 180 and beyond. I am more comfortable asking for help because I feel like we're all here because we all have something in common: we are excited about biology.

The panel discussion with undergraduate researchers really put my mind at ease. I saw that students just like us were able to gain valuable research experiences and obtain funding and scholarships.

One of the biggest gains I have from expanding my community of biologists is that it opened my eyes to how many opportunities and how much help are available at this big school.

For more information about the Biology Fellows Program and BIOL 106:

See the UW-HHMI Biology Fellows Program Brochure.

Read the publications:

View the poster: "A Case Study Approach to Teaching Hypothesis Testing to Beginning Biology Students" by B.J. Buchwitz and B.T. Wakimoto, presented at the 2010 UW Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Symposium.


Integrative Research Internship Program

The UW-HHMI programs provided undergraduates with opportunities for research training and discovery, seminar courses, and outreach experiences to better prepare them for careers in the biosciences. A hallmark of our programs was their support for diverse communities of students and mentors who represented a broad range of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences in the biosciences.

The UW-HHMI seminar course, BIOL 490 "Introduction to Research in the Biosciences," was designed to encourage and support undergraduate researchers, from beginning to more advanced stages of their research training. Its developmental, cohort-based approach and outreach to mentors helped students make the most of their research experiences:

  • Join a diverse community of undergraduate researchers and mentors in the biosciences
  • Demystify the culture of research
  • Understand responsibilities of mentees and scientists through discussion of laboratory case studies
  • Analyze research papers and participate in a journal club
  • Practice scientific writing and oral presentations
  • Develop a research proposal
  • Increase competitiveness for undergraduate research scholarships and graduate and professional programs

Students were required to confirm a faculty research mentor prior to the start of the course. If a student had not yet connected with a faculty mentor, the program organizers provided guidance and facilitated student-faculty matches to help each individual find a research home.

For the 2012 summer internship program, participants were selected largely from students who had completed the Spring Quarter BIOL 490 course. Those selected as interns received a stipend to enable full-time research effort (40 hours/week) for 10 weeks. The interns met weekly for an interactive research seminar, participated in a mentor appreciation lunch, and presented posters at a research symposium to peers, graduate students, postdoctoral scientists, and faculty from departments across the UW.

What participants say:

I completely understand why people say that you need to DO science in order to fully understand it, and in my case, to teach it.

Being part of the research internship program is an honor for me. Meeting with people with different intellectual and cultural backgrounds, yet sharing the same interest, research, is a very valuable experience.

I am now involved in an exciting project where what I do matters to the whole group. I love the independence and I love the responsibility.

For more information about Integrative Research Internship Program approaches:

View the poster: "The Undergraduate Research Experience: A Developmental Approach to Program Design for Research-Intensive Universities" by B.J. Buchwitz and B.T. Wakimoto, presented at the 2009 Conference on Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Research Careers.

See the sample syllabus: BIOL 490 "Introduction to Research in the Biosciences". For further information, email Brian Buchwitz at bjb@uw.edu.


Friday Harbor Labs Research Apprenticeship Program

UW-HHMI also supported undergraduates to participate in the Friday Harbor Labs (FHL) Research Apprenticeship Program. This program provides students with the extraordinary opportunity to work full-time for one quarter on exploratory research projects with other students, faculty instructors, and graduate student teaching assistants, while living at the FHL on San Juan Island, Washington. HHMI-funded FHL apprentices also participated in the UW-HHMI Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium.

For more information about FHL undergraduate research and course opportunities, visit:



Student Research and Outreach Resources

The following websites provide information about undergraduate research training and opportunities at the UW and beyond.

UW-Affiliated Research Programs
Non-UW Research Opportunities
UW Student Resources