Summer Research Opportunities


Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is emerging as an important biofuel candidate in the United States. Our labs collectively study the ecology, genetics/genomics, physiology and agronomy/plant breeding of Switchgrass. We are seeking a talented and diverse group of undergraduate students interested in conducting a variety of research in Switchgrass biology across the US.

Program description

This program is an opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in mentored independent research on the biology of Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), its related genetic model P. hallii, as well as other plant systems we study in the lab. Much of the research we do is a combination of field work, molecular lab work, and controlled chamber/greenhouse experiments. Participating students will have the opportunity to try their hand at any and potentially all of these research settings.

The program is funded through the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program and is associated with our ongoing interdisciplinary work on the ecology, physiology, and genomic responses of Switchgrass to future climate change. Summer students will be immersed in research and learn basic and applied biology through active participation. Working as part of our research team, they will contribute to group research projects, design & execute independent research projects, and present their work as either a power-point talk or a poster in an end-of-summer student symposium.

Each position is supported for 8-10 weeks beginning the first week of June. Students are awarded a $4500 stipend, plus a housing and food allowance, and some funds to help defray the cost of traveling to the designated University.

Who Should Apply

Undergraduates that are not in their senior year (1st to 3rd year), who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents studying in the U.S. While we encourage all science majors to apply, preference will be given to individuals with a strong background and/or interest in evolutionary ecology, environmental biology, quantitative genetics and agronomy.

Application process

The application process for 2020 is now open.

Please prepare and submit no later than Tuesday February 25th 2020:

  • e-mail: Prof. Tom Juenger
  • Subject: Switchgrass REU 2020
  1. A 1-page cover letter describing your previous research experiences (if any), relevant courses and associated activities, future plans and importantly, your personal motivation for wanting to study plant ecology/evolution/genetics.
  2. Two reference letters from faculty and/or other research mentors (postdocs, grad students etc.).
  3. An unofficial copy of your transcript (screenshots are OK).
  4. If you have any questions regarding this REU opportunity, please direct them to Dr. Juenger via e-mail.

Collaborating Professors

  • Prof. Thomas Juenger, University of Texas at Austin
  • Prof. David Lowry, Michigan State University: Visit website
  • Prof. Felix Fritschi, University of Missouri at Columbia: Visit website
  • Dr. Philip Fay, ARS-USDA at Temple Texas: Visit website
  • Prof. Rob Mitchell, USDA-ARS, University of Nebraska at Lincoln: Visit website
  • Prof. Arvid Boe, South Dakota State University: Visit website
  • Prof. Yanqi Wu, Oklahoma State University: Visit website


reu_ad_2020.pdf1.86 MB