RISEbio Program

RISEbio is a National Science Foundation funded program that bridges social integration, vertical mentoring, and an authentic research experience to enhance student academic success. The program provides participants opportunities through-out the entire 4 years of college.

RISEbio gives entering first-year students interested in pursuing a degree in biology or biochemistry the opportunity to engage in real-world research with faculty, peer mentors, and graduate students. RISEbio participants are also part of a learning community during their first year. The learning community provides early and preregistration to specific courses as well as structured study groups, and mentor support. However, RISEbio participants are free to select their own housing and are not required to live together in on-campus housing.

Prospective students submit an application to participate in RISEbio. All students are welcome to participate, but space is limited. If selected, you join the RISEbio learning community during your first semester and select a research stream during your second semester. Participants will also participate in a First Year Seminar (FYEX) that is designed to assist students with the transition to the university.

After the third semester, RISEbio participants are supported through pop-up events that maintain social interactions and provide career development opportunities.

In their second semester on campus, RISEbio participants join a research team where they will work on mentored research projects with faculty, graduate assistants, and peer mentors. Depending on the semester, different research streams are available for students to join:

(1) Brain and Behavior – Led by Dr. Rachel Cohen, the Brain, and Behavior group is working to identify novel genes expressed in the brain that control reproductive and aggressive behaviors. Learn More

(2) Plants and Environmental Stress – Led by Dr. Matthew Kaproth, the Plants and Environmental Stress group is working to determine the traits by which plants acclimate and/or adapt with to survive within their environments or deal with climate change. Learn More

(3) Biochemistry - Proteoglycans in Cancer, Aging in Muscle, and Vitamin A Biology - Led by Drs. Samantha Katner, Rebecca Moen, and Charlie Krois. Biochemistry majors participating in RISEbio participants will join a biochemistry stream focused on proteoglycans in cancer, aging in muscle, or vitamin A biology. Learn More

(4) Thyroid Hormone, Environment, and Development - Led by Dr. David Sharlin, the Thyroid Hormone, Environment, and Development group is working to understand whether environmental chemicals can disrupt thyroid hormone action in development with a specific focus on the nervous and sensory systems. Coming Spring 2025!  LEARN MORE

Inactive Research Streams

(1) Immunity and Cancer – Led by Dr. Allison Land, the Immunity and Cancer group is working to determine the mechanisms by which host immune proteins that mutagenize viral DNA are kept from damaging cellular genomic DNA. Learn More

2) Bacteria and Disease - Led by Dr. Yongtao Zhu, this research stream worked to identify virulence factors (disease causing) in Flavobacterium psychrophilum, the bacteria responsible for bacterial cold-water disease (BCWD) in salmonid fishes including rainbow trout. Learn More

Most students will qualify to participate. However, due to space limitations and an application process is in place. Basic eligibility criteria include:

  • Enrolled as as a biology, environmental science, or biochemistry major
  • Have a minimum high-school GPA of 2.66
  • Provide contact information for a reference like a high school teacher or counselor

To be considered for a NSF funded RISEbio scholarship, students must meet specific financial eligibility set by NSF. However, students DO NOT need to qualify for scholarship to apply. To be considered for scholarship funds, the following must be met:

  • Have a demonstrated financial need that is calculated using the FAFSA derived expected family contribution (EFC).
  • Be a US citizen, a refugees under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.
  • Medical Laboratory Studies, Cytotechnology, and Nuclear Medicine Technology majors are classified by NSF as allied health professions and unfortunately are majors that do not qualify for scholarship consideration. Students interested in being considered for a RISEbio scholarship and majoring in one these options are encouraged to contact the program coordinator.

Please note that students do not need to qualify for needs-based scholarship funds to participate in RISEbio. The RISEbio program wants to support all students interested in participating.

Follow this link to apply! Applicants will first be asked for permission to provide the RISEbio program access to certain application materials that are part of the Minnesota State Univeristy Mankato General Application. Access to this information reduces the application length and thr need to re-enter certain information already on file with the University.

Still have questions? Contact the RISEbio program coordinator, Dr. Rachel Cohen - rachel.cohen@mnsu.edu.

Research Immersive Scholastic Experience in Biology (RISEbio)

RISEbio is a National Science Foundation (NSF) supported program that provides a unique learning experience by building a supportive community of peers and offering authentic research experiences that develop advanced technical skills enhancing future employment opportunities. During the first-year, RISEbio participants also participate in a learning community that offers a peer network, preregistration for learning community courses, and faculty interactions.

No extra course work is required to participate in RISEbio. All RISEbio-associated credits count directly towards graduation. 

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RISEbio is now accepting participant nominations!!!

Are you an educator, counselor, or other student advocate and know a student that would benefit from participating in the RISEbio Program? Then we want to hear from you!

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Brain and Behavior Research Stream

Focused on identifying novel brain-expressed genes that control reproduction and territorial behaviors in the seasonally breeding green Anole lizard.

Plants and Environmental Stress

Focused on identifying functional traits that enable a plant to survive drought, heat and other environmental stresses.

Biochemistry Stream

Explore the biochemistry stream projects