Macalester-HHMI Young Researchers

Overview-The MHRI-Young Researcher program aims to maintain a diversity of perspectives by supporting up to eight rising sophomores, or rising juniors, who have litte or no research experience.  The group works together as a cohort.  The goal is to build confidence and prepare students for  competitive research positions later in their time at Macalester. Students from all social, ethnic, racial, and financial backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Dr. Devavani Chatterjea and Dr. Mary Montgomery will serve as faculty co-mentors for the 2015 Young Researchers cohort.

The work will involve mastering several laboratory techniques (e.g. primer design, PCR,  plasmid purification, restriction enzyme digests, agarose electrophoresis, bacterial transformation,) and the use of model organisms (e.g. E. coli, C. elegans, mice).  These methods will be learned in the context of two distinct research projects: one that focuses on the epigenetic control of gene expression and the other that examines the role of the immune system in the interplay between allergy and pain.

Up to six students will be selected to participate in this program during the summer of 2015.  The 10-week research period will begin on May 18 with half of the time spent in each lab. Participants will receive a $4,500 stipend and are eligible for on-campus housing, which requires the purchase of a food plan.

How to Apply-   Upload the following four components to the MHRI Application Moodle site  by 5 pm on February 16, 2015

**IMPORTANT** In order to Upload your application files, you must be enrolled in the MHRI Application Moodle course [NOTE: This Application portal will be available on December 19].  When live, you can self-enroll in the course by clicking on the link "Enroll me in this course" button which is located in the Settings block below the Navigation block on the right hand side of the page.

Once you have enrolled,  upload the appropriately named PDF-formatted files.  You will also complete an Application FORM on the site that allows you to provide key pieces of information, including 2 Macalester faculty or staff members who are willing to provide a recommendation for you.

  1.  A cover letter that provides 100-250 word responses to the following questions : 
    1. Describe your background and interest in science.  What areas of science interest you and why?
    2. Why are you interested in this particular summer research opportunity?  What attracts you to this program and what motivates you to pursue this opportunity?
    3. What are your tentative future goals?  How might this summer research experience inform or support the development of your long-term career planning?
  2.  A Curriculum vita or resume. Guidelines found at at this link
  3. An unofficial transcript.  Instructions can be found at this link.
  4. The names of one or two Macalester faculty or staff who can be contacted as references. This information will be gathered on a form located within the application site. Prior to listing an individual, you should confirm that they would be willing to provide a recommendation. (NOTE: These individuals are not required to write a letter of recommendation, but will be contacted by email or phone.)

Selection Criteria- Top ranking candidates will demonstrate many of the following characteristics:

  1. Significant scientific interests as attested to in description of interests in science, by course selection, and recommendations;
  2. Strong interpersonal skills (attested to by references and/or interviews);
  3. Maturity and independence (attested to by references or interviews).

    In making the final selections, the Committee will also consider the potential impact of the experience on student’s career path, the match of participants to the projects, and the overall composition of the group.

        Eligibility-- Participants in the MHRI-YR program must be full-time, enrolled students at Macalester College.  Furthermore, rising sophomores (i.e., students who have completed their first year at Macalester) or rising juniors who have not had a summer research experience are the targets of these awards. No prior lab experience is expected of students who participate.  Students from social, ethnic, or racial backgrounds that are underrepresented in the sciences (e.g., students from rural areas, of African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, or Native American decent, first-generation students, or students who are Pell Grant-eligible) are especially encouraged to apply. U.S. citizenship is not required for participation. 

          Interested students are encouraged to contact Program Director, with questions about the application process or the program. Questions about the nature of the work or the organization of the summer can be directed to Professors or

          During the summer of 2014, Dr. Lin Aanonsen and Dr. Sarah Boyer served as faculty co-mentors for the following six students:

          • Alexis Cruz  '16
          • Nicole Mathews '16
          • Robyn Park '16
          • Phoung Pham '16
          • Kaan Salcin '17
          • Megan Schermerhorn '16