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Undergraduate Research at
UNM Department of Biology

Getting involved in research can be one of the most exciting, interesting, and gratifying things you do as an undergraduate student in Biology at UNM. Polls of students at schools around the country reveal that even students who do not intend to pursue a career involving research often feel that getting some research experience was the highlight of their undergraduate career. 

As a biology student at UNM, you are fortunate to be in a department where the faculty and graduate students are conducting research at literally all levels of biological organization, from molecules to ecosystems. Most of us are more than willing to mentor highly motivated undergraduate students who wish to gain some research experience. So, the opportunity is there, should you wish to avail yourself of it.

There are a number of avenues available to you, if an undergraduate research experience is what you’re seeking. If you have excellent grades and are motivated/dedicated enough, consider the Biology Department’s Honors Program. If what you’re seeking is a less independent introduction to research, Biology 499 (Undergraduate Problems) may be the better way to go. Biology 499 is an especially good way to get academic credit for off-campus research experience, such as you might get if you worked for a governmental agency researcher (Forest Service, etc.) or spent a summer working with a scientist at Sandia or Los Alamos National Labs. Other courses, such as Bosque Biology (Biol. 407), allow students to be involved in ongoing research programs of individual faculty members, as do Biology 402 offerings from time to time. There are also several research groups in the Biology Department as well as a number of other agencies and organizations that frequently have openings for undergraduate student research help. In addition, there are often research opportunities to be had in labs on UNM's North Campus. The Pharmacology and the Cell Biology & Physiology departments are just two of many that you could approach.

If you’re sincerely interested in doing some research, the first thing you should do is view the listing of the Biology Department faculty and their research interests. This will help you focus your thoughts about research and let you identify faculty whose research interests overlap yours. Once you have done this, you should contact the appropriate faculty member(s) and discuss the possibilities. Finally, even if you don’t become actively involved in a research project, you can still get some exposure to biological research by attending one or more of the weekly offerings of the Departmental Seminar Series and the Wednesday noon Brown Bag Seminar. Either of these is a good way to get exposure to new research developments in various biology subdisciplines.

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