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Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS)

High School Scientists in the Lab

Immerse Yourself in Biological Research

The deadline for the RIBS program has passed, and we are no longer considering applications for admission to this course.

Students interested in Biology may be interested in courses in Immersion, Pre-College Connect, and Summer College.

Furthering the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, discovering how to preserve blood, laying the mathematical foundations for the theory of genetic evolution—the University of Chicago is a leader in these and in many other areas of research. This summer, learn the techniques used in cutting-edge biological research and work in person at lab facilities at a premier research university.

I liked being able to apply knowledge -- just the act of doing lab work and carrying out experiments based on things we just learned made everything make much more sense, and vice versa. When we carried out experiments and then learned how it worked and what its purpose was. That was cool.
Jennifer W., University of Chicago Lab Schools, Chicago, IL -

Program Description

This four-week intensive training program is designed to expose students to a broad range of molecular, microbiological, and cell biological techniques currently used in research laboratories. Students are immersed in the research experience, giving them a taste of "life at the bench." Using a project-based approach, the course progresses from a survey of basic lab techniques to the application of current molecular techniques in cell biology, genetics, developmental biology and cancer biology. After two weeks of basic training, students spend the remainder of the course working on an independent project. Most of a typical RIBS day is spent in lab with lectures given when needed to provide background and context for the experiments. Communication skills are important in science. RIBS students will have weekly writing assignments and keep a detailed lab notebook. Students read original research articles and participate in group presentations. Students will also attend weekly lunch time seminars given by research faculty. The course ends with a research forum in which the students present the results of their projects. Successful completion of the course will give participants the experience and confidence to work in a research laboratory.

See sample syllabus here.

Program Considerations

RIBS is a residential program and requires students to live on-campus and attend classes in person to complete the program. Students who have completed a significant amount of lab work outside of class may find this course repetitive.

Application Requirements

Eligibility: Current 10th or 11th grade students. Students must have completed one year of high school biology by the start of the program. This course is the most rigorous of the pre-college offerings in Biology, requiring that students have a demonstrated passion for science, with top grades in high school biology, math, and chemistry in honors or advanced-level courses, if available at the student's school.

The deadline to apply is our Priority Deadline, January 18, 2024. All application decisions for this program will be released at the same time at the end of February.

Students must complete the Summer Session Application and all the related requirements, which can be reviewed in the How to Apply section. 

Program Overview & Dates

June 15-July 13, 2024

Move-in: Sat. Jun 15
Required Orientation: Sat. Jun 15 - Sun. Jun 16.
First Class: Mon. Jun 17
Move-out: Sat. Jul 13

Class times: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Course Specifics

Instructors: Christopher Schonbaum, Robert Bednarczyk

Course Code: BIOS 10010 94

Units: 200 UChicago units, which is equivalent to 2 full-time courses