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Research and Internship Opportunities

The benefits of conducting research in bioengineering

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The bioengineering field is diverse, and its practice covers a spectrum of fundamentals in mathematics, science and engineering. Research and internship experiences provide undergraduate students with opportunities to apply classroom knowledge to real-world experiences, and to identify interests they would like to pursue after graduation.

Seventy-five percent of the Rice bioengineering undergraduates participate in research either in faculty member laboratories, in research centers and institutes at Rice, or in the Texas Medical Center. Many students attend conferences, symposium events, and design competitions to present their work. They can also author or co-author a manuscript(s), and earn awards at national professional conferences. Students who participate in independent research or engineering design may be eligible to earn the Rice University Distinction in Research and Creative Works award upon graduation.

Some of the top research awards our undergraduate students have received within the last decade that applied toward their graduate studies include, 20 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, 11 Goldwater Scholarships, 4 Hertz Fellowships, 6 Whitaker International Fellowships, 3 Marshall Scholarships, 3 Fulbright Scholarships, 1 Beckman Scholarship, 1 Morris K. Udall Scholarship, and 1 Truman Scholarship.

To be successful, students should begin to proactively identify their interest areas and search for faculty mentors as early as their freshman year. Research and design opportunities in bioengineering involve cutting-edge projects in biomaterials and drug delivery, biomedical imaging and diagnostics, cellular and biomolecular engineering, computational and theoretical bioengineering, systems and synthetic biology, and tissue engineering and biomechanics.

Bioengineering faculty and students benefit from Rice's many research centers, institutes, and groups, including the:

Getting involved

Undergraduate research is widely supported at Rice through the Center for Civic Leadership, the George R. Brown School of Engineering, and through the Department of Bioengineering. Students encounter research opportunities in their informal day-to-day interaction with faculty, and through Rice merit-based research scholarships such as the Century Scholars Program for freshmen or the Undergraduate Scholars Program for upperclassmen.

Bioengineering Undergraduate Research (BIOE 400/401) courses

These courses are offered for undergraduate students who want to get involved in research. Through this course students perform an independent investigation of a specific topic or problem in modern bioengineering research. Under the direction of a selected faculty member, students gain hands-on research experience in a bioengineering laboratory. Students are often mentored by graduate students or postdoctoral fellows in the lab.

Engineering Design courses

Rice has many project-based courses that teach engineering design, including a minor in Global Health Technologies (GLHT) and a new Engineering Design Minor. Through a systematic process, students learn and work with faculty members at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK), professionals in industry, or the Texas Medical Center, who serve as project sponsors to complete a prototype; conduct tests and safety evaluations; follow FDA requirements and logistics, engineering ethics, intellectual property rights, business planning and marketing, and/or write up their work for publication.

Courses include:

  • Capstone design projects for seniors (BIOE 451 and 452)
  • Introduction to Engineering Design for freshman or underclassmen (ENGI 120 and ENGI 220)
  • Engineering Design Studio (ENGI 200)
  • Prototyping and Fabrication (ENGI 210)
  • Engineering Design Workshop (ENGI 300)

Summer undergraduate internships

Several of the university’s research centers and institutes offer Rice students, as well as bright and promising students from across the country, summer internship experiences that help sculpt their education through multidisciplinary training in science and engineering.

Each summer, highly motivated students participate in bioengineering research. Students work under the guidance of faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. The interactive relationships formed during these programs give Rice faculty members opportunities to connect with students while providing them with an excellent introduction to the graduate school environment.

At the start of the spring semester, additional summer research experiences for undergraduates are posted.

Rice Bioengineering Department awards for distinction in research and creative work

Undergraduate students are recognized for substantial contributions to independent research and engineering design through the Distinction in Research and Creative Works award. The university honor is granted annually at commencement and notification appears on the recipient’s transcript and diploma.

All B.S. in bioengineering candidates are eligible. Applicants must be in good academic standing and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 in courses completed at Rice. A letter of support from a faculty member or center director is required. A student may self-nominate, and an advisor can nominate a student.

Applicants must complete the Student Application form (See PDF). One faculty mentor who has worked with the student in research or design must complete the Supporting Faculty form (See PDF). A letter of recommendation may accompany the Supporting Faculty form.

The student application and the adviser’s supporting letter are due April 1. Completed applications should be sent to Dr. Ramos (rfr1@rice.edu) with a copy to Gayle Schroeder (ges2@rice.edu). The Bioengineering Undergraduate Awards Committee will make the selection for the students based on these guidelines and other documented, published procedures that the committee establishes. The chair of the bioengineering department will review and approve the selection.

See additional qualifications (PDF) for this distinction.