Biochemistry Scholars Program

In the fall of 2010, the Department of Biochemistry inaugurated a new program — entitled Biochemistry Scholars — designed to provide hands-on research experience to our undergraduate majors. Students will be invited to apply to the program in the spring at the end of their second semester at UW–Madison. Invitations will be made to students officially declared in the biochemistry major and first semester GPA will be a factor. The program is designed from the ground up to provide a rigorous introduction to what basic research in biochemistry is all about. Those students accepted will be notified in June, and will be assigned to a department laboratory and will begin their research work in fall of their sophomore year. In that laboratory, students will be trained and will participate in basic research projects. As described below, even if a student is already in a lab, he or she may apply to the program if he or she receives an invitation.

Program Outline

  • Students will participate in one or more research projects for a period of up to three years. Each semester, students will generally enroll in two credits of the relevant special problems class, Biochem 299 to start.
  • Students will receive training from other laboratory personnel. In addition, all students will meet regularly with that laboratory’s mentor.
  • A general meeting of program participants will take place every fall, during the first week of classes.
  • After one year in the program, an assessment will take place. Students who are progressing at a satisfactory pace will continue. This will also be an opportunity for a few students to change laboratories according to changing interests, or halt participation if they find that laboratory research is not for them.
  • In the spring of junior year, students are encouraged to apply for research awards and senior thesis fellowships (Hilldale, Mary Shine Peterson, etc.).
  • All program participants are encouraged to join the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) UW–Madison Student Chapter. Joining the student organization will result in being a student member of the national ASBMB organization.
  • In April of their senior year, program students are encouraged to travel to the ASBMB meeting and will present their research in the ASBMB undergraduate poster competition. These meetings are held in great cities across the U.S.
  • Many (hopefully most) participating students will eventually co-author papers based on their research.


  • Each participant must have a declared biochemistry major.
  • Although there are no specific GPA requirements, overall GPA will be a significant consideration for acceptance into the program. Even in this select group, we cannot guarantee space for all applicants.
  • Motivation to pursue biochemistry research.

How to apply

  • If a student has received an email invitation to apply, his or her complete application must include:
  • Completed cover form (received via email). Form can be completed electronically, but it may need to downloaded and opened in Adobe Acrobat to be able to edit the fields.
  • A brief (<1-page double-spaced) letter explaining something about the student, including where he or she is from and why he or she chose biochemistry as a major.
  • The student's unofficial transcript (Student Record), available via Student Center.