Research Experience for Undergraduates (Summer 2020) | Positions | Beckstein Lab

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Research Experience for Undergraduates (Summer 2020)

Research Experience for Undergraduates (Summer 2020)

The Beckstein Lab offers a ten-week REU research program in computational biophysics for a highly motivated undergraduate student. The student will implement new algorithms for the analysis of biomolecular simulations in MDAnalysis and the new parallel MDAnalysis pmda 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, including programming parallel applications for execution on high performance (HPC) supercomputers.

The MDAnalysis Open Source Project is a Python-based library for analyzing particle simulations in biophysics, chemistry, and the materials sciences.

Students will receive a $5000 stipend. The desired starting date is June 1, 2020 and end date is August 7, 2020. This full time research experience includes work with a faculty and PhD student mentor based at Arizona State University.

UPDATE (2020-03-17): Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the REU will be performed remotely and will not include travel to ASU.

Application DEADLINE: April 30, 2020

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

  • You must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree in Physics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology or related science during summer 2020.
  • You 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 (e.g., MPI) and programming on GPUs is a plus),
  • 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, OpenMM, NAMD, Amber or CHARMM.

How to apply

Submit the following by April 30, 2020:

  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 Student Employment website (you must be logged in with your ASURITE ID).

  1. click Search On-Campus Jobs button
  2. click Advanced search
  3. Enter Requisition ID 60046BR
  4. Search

  • Upload the complete application materials as a single PDF file in the order stated above. (If you are unsure about how to upload your materials also send an email with the application as described under submit an application by email and mention that you are an ASU student and that you are also applying through the ASU system.)
  • 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.

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