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.

RISEbio gives entering first-year students interested in pursuing a degree in biology the opportunity to engage in real-world research with faculty, peer mentors, and graduate students. RISEbio scholars also live together in a learning community during their first year and qualifying students receive $2,500 in scholarship funds for each of their first three semesters ($7,500 total).

Prospective students submit an application to become a RISEbio scholar. If selected, you join the RISEbio learning community and select a research stream.

Although you will take the Introductory Biology sequence during your first year, you will exchange course-based laboratories with an authentic research experience. During your first semester, you will take a RISEbio specific research methods course followed by 2 semesters of authentic research. Program Next Steps facilitates additional research and scholarly activities to provide continued academic excellence and training.

In their second semester on campus, RISEbio scholars 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) 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) 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

(3) Bacteria and Disease - Led by Dr. Yongtao Zhu, the Bacteria and Disease group is working to identify the virulence factors (factors that provide microbes the ability to infect) of Flavobacterium psychrophilum, which is the causative agent of the bacterial cold-water disease (BCWD) in salmonid fishes including rainbow trout. Genetic manipulation techniques are used to delete the potential virulence factor-encoding genes in F. psychrophilum. The mutants with weakened virulence will be developed as live attenuated vaccines to prevent the BCWD in fishing farms. Learn More

4) 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

Most students will qualify to participate. However, due to space limitations and NSF eligibility requirements, 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 (3.0 preferred)
  • Meet minimum ACT score requirements (>16 cumulative)

To be considered for a NSF funded RISEbio scholarship, students must meet specific eligibility including:

  • Have a demonstrated financial need that is calculated using the FAFSA expected family contribution (EFC) and the University's calculated cost-of-attendance (COA)
  • 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 do not qualify. Students interested in participating in RISEbio 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.

Follow this link to apply through Scholarship Finder! Applicants must complete the General Application prior to completing the RISEbio specific application.

Still have questions? Contact the RISEbio coordinator, Dr. David Sharlin - david.sharlin@mnsu.edu.

Research Immersive Scholastic Experience in Biology (RISEbio)

RISEbio is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded program that provides first-year students the opportunity to engage in authentic real-world research experiences by exchanging introductory biology laboratory sections for a hands-on mentored research experience. No extra course work is required to participate in RISEbio. The program also offers substantial scholarship funds to students with a demonstrated financial need. RISEbio Scholars will also be part of a dedicated learning community and partake in activities that develop technical and professional skills, which will help students springboard into additional research opportunities, internships, graduate/professional schools, and careers.

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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.

Cancer and Immunity Research Stream

Investigates miRNA regulation of specific immune proteins (APOBECs) that are involved in malignant (cancer) transformation.

Bacteria and Disease Research Stream

Identify the virulence (disease causing) factors of Flavobacterium psychrophilum.

Biochemistry Stream

Explore the 3 projects Biochemistry students have worked on