Cell Biology Undergraduate Studies Program


Cell Biology Undergraduate Image

The Department of Cell Biology encourages Duke Undergraduates to participate in research in our laboratories. Undergraduate research experience can deeply enrich and complement a students course work and it can be an important factor in successfully applying to competitive Graduate School and Medical Training programs.

Over the last 3 years our department has mentored almost 50 undergraduates, providing opportunities for students to learn the methods and approaches of scholarly research. Many of these students have gone on to enter well regarded post-graduate and medical training programs. Research is typically led by graduate students or postdoctoral fellows within the laboratory with whom undergraduates work closely with along with mentoring by our Faculty.

Undergraduate research projects are an exciting and important way students can get "hands on" experience to jump start their careers as independent scientists. Students interested in applying for CellBio493 Independent Study should follow the instructions given here. Useful information can also be found at the Duke Undergraduate Research Support Office.  The Cell Biology Director of Undergraduate Studies is Dr. Sharyn Endow (office hours: currently by Zoom, email for appointment).  Dr. Endow can be contacted directly for more information. Click here for a list of our current undergraduate students. And, click the link below to see our most recent students who, by performing research in Cell Biology, graduated with distinction.

Graduation with Distinction in Biology

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships

We are excited to announce the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Cell Biology for Summer 2023. Two Department of Cell Biology Fellowship Awards will be granted to support 8-10 weeks of full-time paid research in a Department of Cell Biology primary or secondary faculty laboratory and include a $4,000 stipend to help cover student accommodations and living expenses.

Eligible students are Duke undergraduates with an excellent academic record, who have conducted independent research with the proposed faculty mentor for at least one and preferably two or more semesters, and who demonstrate a strong interest in cell biological research.  We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented groups to apply. Students will be selected based on academic record, descriptions of research interests, and career goals.

Interested students should apply by submitting a PDF fillable application form:

 with the requested information to undergraduate_research_fellowship@duke.edu

Applications are due on March 5, 2023.  Decisions will be announced in March 2022.

Note that fellowships are reportable income by IRS rules (see https://finance.duke.edu/payroll/noncomp.)


Recipients of Summer Fellowships


Ronit Sethi, Major: Biology, Global Health - Mentor, Mai Elmallah
Project: Respiratory Pathologies in an ALS Mouse Model 


Rebecca Lee, Major: Chemistry & Visual Arts - Mentor: Purushothama Rao Tata
Project: SOX9 in submucosal gland-derived cells during lung regeneration.

Elizabeth Delgado, Major: Chemistry & Education - Mentor: Blanche Capel
Project: Generation of gonal organoids using embryonic progenitor cells.


Mikaela Iness Chandra, Major: Biology - Mentor: Eda Yildirim
Project: Nuclear Pore Complex protein, Nup153, and Topoisomerase II beta: functional association during gene regulation.

Chaichontat Sriworarat, Major: Biomedical Engineering - Mentor: Cagla Eroglu
Project: Microglial inhibition of activation and its effects on autism spectrum disorder in pregnant mice.


Margo Orlen, Major: Biology - Mentor: Marc Caron
Project: Determining the role of the dopamine D2R receptor on interneurons in the prefrontal cortex in cognitive behavior.

Yuming Shi, Major: Biology - Mentor: Eda Yildirim
Project:  Analysis of the role of Nucleoporin153 in regulating gene expression and chromosome position using mammalian X-chromosome inactivation as a model.


Kevin Murgas, Major: Biomedical Engineering - Mentor: Eda Yildirim
Project: Examining the role of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) in the maintenance of X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) in female cells and how its loss is causal to human blood cancers.

Juan Ramirez, Major: Biology - Mentor: Cagla Eroglu
Project:  Determining how hevin, an extracellular matrix-associated astrocyte-secreted glycoprotein,controls synaptic refinement in the developing visual cortex.