Cell & Molecular Biology

The MU Life Sciences Fellows Program is actively seeking to diversify their graduate program application pool. Preference will be given to students interested in applying to PhD programs in the life sciences at MU. Applicants are expected to have completed at least one year of full-time college enrollment prior to June 2020, be pursuing a major in biology, biochemistry, microbiology, or related field, and be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. Interns selected for this program will conduct research with faculty mentors who are members of the NIGMS T32 Training Grant at MU. Additional questions may be directed to Dr. Mark Hannink (HanninkM@missouri.edu).

Students live in on-campus, air-conditioned housing (double rooms), and receive a meal plan, covered by the program. Summer interns also are provided with one hour of academic/research credit, travel to and from Columbia, and a stipend of $3,800.


Applicants must meet the basic eligibility requirements of the MU Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Students are expected to have completed at least one year of full-time college enrollment prior to June, be pursuing a major in biology, biochemistry, microbiology or related fields, and be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.

Application Information

The deadline to apply is February 17, 2020. Students must complete the application form and provide an unofficial transcript (including Fall 2019 grades); letters of recommendation (two preferred); a resume; and a personal statement indicating career plans, prior research experience, and research interests. If completed online, documents will be submitted with the online application. For application packets sent via email, the application form and other documents may be sent to ugr@missouri.edu. Letters of recommendation may be sent directly to the Office of Undergraduate Research via email (ugr@missouri.edu). Questions can be directed to the MU Office of Undergraduate Research via email or phone, 573-882-5979.

Faculty Mentors

Students will list up to eight (8) faculty with whom they are interested in working on their application.


  • Peter Cornish – Single molecule analysis of ribosome function
  • Mark Hannink – Mitochondrial movement & oxidative stress
  • Abraham Koo – Regulation of jasmonate plant hormone levels
  • Dennis Lubahn – Botanical prevention of prostate cancer
  • Scott Peck – Phosphoproteomics of plant signaling
  • Brenda Peculis – Regulation of RNA stability
  • Mick Petris – Trafficking & utilization of copper
  • Charlotte Phillips – Mutant collagen molecules & bone diseases
  • Gary Stacey – Functional genomics of plant development
  • Jay Thelen – Proteomic analysis of seed development
  • Peter Tipton – Chemical mechanisms of enzyme-catalyzed reactions
  • Steve Van Doren – Protein structure determination using NMR
  • Judy Wall – Environmental microbiology
  • Gary Weisman – Purinergic receptors & human disease
  • Shuqun Zhang – Biochemical & genetic analysis of MAPK in plants

Biological Sciences

  • James Birchler – Structure & function of chromosomes
  • David Braun – Genetic control of carbon partitioning in plants
  • Anand Chandrasekhar – Developmental biology of zebrafish
  • Dawn Cornelison – Stem cells of muscle
  • Michael Garcia – Molecular biology of neurofilaments
  • Mannie Liscum – Phototropism & plant development
  • Paula McSteen – Genetic regulation of meristem in plants
  • Kathy Newton – Mitochondrial genetics of plants
  • Chris Pires – Functional genomics of polyploidy
  • David Schulz – Neurobiology of ion channels
  • Laura Schulz – Physiological mechanisms of placenta
  • John Walker – Protein kinases in plant development

Veterinary Pathobiology 

  • Deborah Anderson – Molecular pathogenesis of Yersinia pestis
  • Brenda Beerntsen – Mosquito-parasite interactions & innate immunity of mosquitoes
  • Guoquan Zhang – Vaccine-induced protective immunity against Coxiella burnetii

Molecular Microbiology & Immunology

  •  Donald Burke-Aguero – Aptamers as therapeutic agents against
  • Dongsheng Duan – Development of novel gene therapies
  • Bumsuk Hahm – Interplay between viruses & host immunity
  • Marc Johnson – Role of gag & env proteins in HIV assembly
  • Shan-Lu Liu – Host restriction of viral infections & viral countermeasures
  • Chris Lorson – Novel therapies for spinal muscular atrophy
  • David Pintel – Host-virus interactions using parvoviruses
  • Habib Zaghouani – Mechanisms of autoimmune diseases

MU Informatics Institute 

  • Jianlin (Jack) Cheng – Bioinformatics, computational biology
  • Dong Xu – Bioinformatics, computational biology

Please visit the departmental websites for comprehensive lists of faculty members & their research before completing your application.


Summer 2020 Program Information          Summer 2020 Online Application


Additional questions may be directed to the Office of Undergraduate Research, ugr@missouri.edu or (573) 882-5979; or Dr. Mark Hannink at hanninkm@missouri.edu of the Department of Biochemistry.