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Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS)

High School Scientists in the Lab

Immerse Yourself in Biological Research

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 Biological Sciences Division is a leader in these and many other areas of research. This summer, learn the techniques used in leading-edge biological research in 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

“It’s a rare opportunity for high school students to be able to choose the topic they want to research and design the experiment as well.”

Jahyung L., Mercersburg Academy, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania

Young scientists at a microscopeThis four-week intensive summer research program for high school students is designed to expose students to a broad range of molecular, microbiological, and cellular biological techniques currently used in research laboratories. Within the session, students will be 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 developmental biology and microbiology. Most of a typical RIBS day is spent in lab. Lectures will provide background and introduce new concepts. Since communication skills are important in science, students will keep lab notebooks and they will make several group presentations. The course ends with a research forum in which the students present the results of their projects.

Successful completion of the course gives participants the experience and confidence to work in a research laboratory. On a space-available basis, students who excel in the program are invited back the following year to work in the lab of a University of Chicago research scientist.

Our RIBS program provides unique research opportunities for high school students. Interested in learning more? Find more information about UChicago Summer Session at the Frequently Asked Questions page.