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To return in 2022: Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS)

High School Scientists in the Lab

Immerse Yourself in Biological Research

RIBS is canceled for Summer 2021. Students interested in RIBS may want to explore Biological Inquiry in the Immersion program.

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 in many other areas of research. This summer, learn the techniques used in cutting-edge biological research and work 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, PA

Course 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 developmental biology and microbiology. Most of a typical day in RIBS is spent in lab. Lectures will also be presented to 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 will give participants the experience and confidence to work in a research laboratory. On a space available basis, students will be invited back the following year to work in the lab of a University of Chicago research scientist.

Eligibility: Current high school sophomores and juniors. Students must complete 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 strong performances in high school biology, math, and chemistry (honors or advanced level preferred if available). 

Course Details

Course Overview

Class Details


Christopher Schonbaum,
Rosemary Zaragoza

Class Specifics

Course Code

BIOS 10010 94