Research Experience for Undergraduates (Summer 2016) | Positions | Beckstein Lab

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Research Experience for Undergraduates (Summer 2016)

Research Experience for Undergraduates (Summer 2016)

The Beckstein Lab offers a ten-week research program in computational biophysics for a highly motivated undergraduate student. The student will implement new algorithms for the analysis of biomolecular simulations in the MDAnalysis Python library. She or he will be involved in contributing to a thriving and widely used open-source software project and learn to use state of the art approaches to rapidly develop fast code suitable for scientific work.

Students will receive a $5000 stipend plus an allowance for travel, on-campus housing and a meal plan for this ten-week program. The desired starting date is June 6, 2016 and end date is Aug 13, 2016. This full time research experience includes work in the lab with a faculty and PhD student mentor.

The program is part of the SPIDAL project and funded through an NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) grant.

A successful candidate must be able to provide proof that they are eligible to work in the United States.


Please read this whole page first. If you have questions that remain un-answered:

  • For general questions please use the contact form at the bottom of the page.
  • For questions of a personal or confidential nature please email Dr Beckstein,

Required qualifications

  • Candidates must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree in Physics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology or related science.
  • 2016/2017 will be their junior or senior year (i.e., you cannot do this REU at the end of your degree).
  • They must demonstrate some experience with
    • using computation to solve a problem in physics, chemistry or biology or related areas and
    • a programming language

Desired qualifications

Demonstrated experience with

  • Linux/UNIX,
  • programming in Python/Cython (including parallel programming and programming on GPUs),
  • contribution to open source software (provide a link to your GitHub or BitBucket profile if you have one)
  • analysis of MD simulations (especially using the MDAnalysis library),
  • use of a molecular dynamics simulation package such as Gromacs, NAMD, Amber or CHARMM.

How to apply

Submit the following by May 30, 2016:

  1. CV
  2. a 1-page essay describing your motivation, your qualification (how you meet the required and desired qualifications listed above), and how the research experience will benefit your future career
  3. unofficial transcripts
  4. one letter of reference

With identical qualifications, under-represented groups in STEM subjects will be preferentially selected.

Incomplete applications will receive low priority and may be ignored.

The application process is slightly different for ASU students and students from elsewhere in the US: follow the appropriate links:

ASU Students

Apply through the job posting on the ASU website (you must be logged in with your ASURITE ID).

  1. click Job Search in the top ribbon
  2. click Search On-Campus Jobs
  3. click Search openings
  4. Enter Requisition ID and Search: 23061BR

Apply by May 30, 2016, 3pm (AZ time).

Upload the application materials as a single PDF file in the order stated above. Your letter of reference may be sent separately but in your application you should say who is sending your letter of reference.

Students from elsewhere in the U.S.

If you are not at Arizona State University, please send the application materials as a single PDF file in the order stated above in a single email with subject REU Application to Dr Oliver Beckstein,

Your letter of reference may be sent separately but in your application email you should say who is sending your letter of reference.

  • Note that your travel to and from Phoenix within the lower 48 states is covered; for other travel arrangements please inquire by email.
  • You will be provided a room in student accommodation on campus within walking distance from the lab, so you don’t have to make any arrangements.

Discuss: “Research Experience for Undergraduates (Summer 2016)”

May 29, 2016 at 5:33 pm #


I have some questions about the application materials. As an ASU student, I am applying via the ASU website. Part of the application requires an upload of a cover letter, whereas this webpage does not list that as a an application material. However, this webpage lists an essay, and the essay prompt seems to be similar to what would go on a cover letter. Should I upload a cover letter, as well as an essay?

Caleb Madsen

Posted by  Caleb Madsen
May 29, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

Please upload the 1-page essay as a cover letter.

Posted by  Oliver Beckstein
June 01, 2016 at 9:23 am #

I also noted that there was a cover letter and decided to write and add a cover letter to my application. I just uploaded the essay as a separate document. I am sure this is fine, I just wanted to give the heads up.
-Andrew Durkiewicz

Posted by  Andrew Durkiewicz
June 01, 2016 at 10:10 am #

Hi Mr Durkiewicz,

That’s totally fine. Thank you.

Oliver Beckstein

Posted by  Oliver Beckstein

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