Montana State University

Hughes Undergraduate Biology

Montana State University
PO Box 173505
Bozeman, Montana 59715

Tel: (406) 994-7330


Martha Sellers, MPA
Phone: (406) 994-7568

2013 CBS – SURP Underway!

Our summer program is off and running! Our 11 students are all fully engaged in their labs. We are looking forward to a fantastic summer, getting know our students better, and working with our fabulous faculty.

2012-2013 Hughes Scholars and Mentors Named

Congratulations to this year's Hughes Scholars. Scholars and mentors are as follows: Alissa Bleem and Dr. Ross Carlson Arrika LaSalle and Dr. Ed Dratz Erika Whitney and Dr. Matthew Fields Kasey Holland and Dr. Ed Schmidt Katie Rowe and Dr. Jovanka Voyich Lindsey Wolfe and Dr. Frances Lefcort We look forward to a great year with these six outstanding students and mentors!

2012 CBS-SURP Cohort

Congratulations to: Milat Awel, Michael Gross, Kasey Holland, Connor Murnion, Justin Nagy, Jared Nigg, Steffanie Robertus, Megan Rothstein, Katie Rowe, Ann Seeley,and Erika Whitney

Hughes Scholar on the Air

Check out Ares Geovanos' blog to hear recorded shows on KGLT where he interviews some of MSU's researchers. Find out when you can tune in to hear the next one live.

NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative

“NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative,” is a 10-year plan to provide greater work-related flexibility to women and men in research careers.

NIH fellowship

MSU graduate wins prestigious National Institutes of Health fellowship

The Howard Hughes Undergraduate Biology program at MSU encourages undergraduates to seek careers in biology. We do this by funding research opportunities and offering mentoring to undergraduate biology students.

Hughes Undergraduate Biology

Summer Research

We are currently reviewing applications for Summer 2014. If you are an applicant and have not yet heard from us, please be patient.

Open to current MSU freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, the Hughes Summer Undergraduate Research Program (Hughes-SURP) is a structured, 10-week, summer research program that introduces undergraduates to the rigors and challenges of scientific research in a mentor-based environment. Students work full-time on an independent research project, and participate in a weekly seminar, extracurricular activities, and a full-day trip to Yellowstone National Park. This interdisciplinary program has supported students from all fields of scientific interest including cell biology, neuroscience, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, immunology, biofilm engineering, mathematics, and psychology.

Program Details

  • June 2 – August 7, 2014
  • Stipend of $4600
  • Housing in MSU residence Hall (if needed)
  • Possible travel reimbursement

Application Process

Undergraduate students who are enrolled in good standing at Montana State University may apply. Students must be U.S. citizens or have a work-eligible visa. We will not accept a student whose visa status is dependent on their admission to this program. In general this means you must already be a student in the US.

Selecting a Mentor:  Applicants are required to select three possible mentors for consideration. Mentors must be current MSU research faculty and can be from any science field relevant to biomedical research. Potential mentors can be found on our Faculty Mentors page, as well as on the MSU Academics site in most of the science disciplines. We recommend that you access these lists PRIOR TO beginning your application.

Letter of Interest: Applicants are required to submit a letter of interest along with their application. The letter is your chance to talk about who you are, what interests you, why this opportunity is right for you (and for MSU), your short and long-term interests, etc. We are not asking for a research proposal. In addition, you will be asked to respond to a more informal question. Note that it is beneficial to prepare a draft of this letter PRIOR to beginning your application.

Transcripts: Applications must include a full set of transcripts, including transferred courses, but we do not require an official copy from the registrar’s office. Using My Info, you can save a pdf of your transcript and upload that with your application. When we choose finalists we may require an official transcript at that time.

Letters of Recommendation: Two letters of recommendation are required of each applicant, and at least one must be from an MSU faculty member who can speak to your ability to participate in both the research and extracurricular aspects of our program. Letters must be signed by the author, and should be submitted by the author electronically to or in a sealed envelope to Martha Sellers, Hughes Undergraduate Biology, 514 Leon Johnson Hall.

For more information contact Martha Sellers at or at 406.994.7568.


Students generally begin working in their faculty mentor’s laboratory on the first day of the program and are expected to work full-time in the research lab; therefore, outside jobs and/or enrollment in courses is not generally permitted. Once accepted into the program, students are encouraged to contact their mentor and begin background reading and preparation for their research experience before they arrive on campus.


Weekly Hughes-SURP seminars allow the entire group to come together to hear about and discuss cutting-edge research, communicating science, graduate and medical school readiness, career opportunities, and other related topics.

Presentation Opportunities

Hughes-SURP culminates in a poster session with other undergraduate researchers on campus; more than 60 students participated in 2013. Students also present a brief update on their work to their peers near the end of the 10-week program. Hughes participants are encouraged to present their work at national conferences and are eligible to receive travel support for this purpose. Past participants have presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, the Society for Neuroscience, the Biophysics Society’s annual meeting, and the West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference.

Recreational Opportunities

Some structured recreational opportunities are part of the program including a guided tour to Yellowstone National Park and gatherings with participants from other summer research programs. HUB will provide additional recreation information that you may be interested in pursuing.