Check out abstracts from previous REU research symposia to learn more about the impactful work of prior interns: 

REU Symposium 2018
REU Symposium 2017
REU Symposium 2016
REU Symposium 2015
REU Symposium 2014
REU Symposium 2013



An NSF-funded program was awarded to the Chicago Botanic Garden to provide research training for ten students over ten-week periods for the summers 2018-2020.

The theme of this REU site is plant biology and conservation, spanning genetic to ecosystem levels of inquiry. 

Faculty mentors include more than 20 scientists drawn from the Garden, partner organization Northwestern University, and other area institutions. 

  • Rare Plant Conservation
  • Restoration Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Population Biology
  • Pollination Biology
  • Reproductive Biology
  • Genomics
  • Evolution and Systematics
  • Soil & Fungal Biology
    and related fields

Projects typically involve both field and laboratory work to provide interns a breadth of experience. Excellent laboratories in the new Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center will provide REU participants  access to resources for research in ecology, soil science, genetics, reproductive biology, GIS, microscopy, population biology, geochemistry, isotopic analysis, and other areas of investigation.


Additional Training and Experiences

Students also participate in professional-development activities including a group collaborative research experience, workshops on scientific ethics and graduate school, field trips to the Field Museum and Morton Arboretum, as well as training in scientific communication. The summer will culminate in a public symposium where interns will present their research. The REU program is integrated within a training continuum that includes precollegiate students, peer undergraduate researchers, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. This diversity in experience provides opportunities for REU students to serve as co-mentors to younger students as well as learn firsthand about post baccalaureate opportunities.



This program is a collaboration between The Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) and Northwestern University Graduate Program in Plant Biology and Conservation (PBC). The CBG with its world-renowned plant collections and displays, is one of the country's most visited public gardens and a preeminent center for learning and scientific research. The 385-acre Garden features 26 display gardens and four natural areas, uniquely situated on nine islands surrounded by lakes.  The PBC fosters an academic and research environment that allows students to gain experience, skills, and knowledge to become scholars, leaders, and practitioners in plant biology and conservation. The curriculum provides a foundation in plant ecology, evolution, and biology as well as applied plant conservation theory and methods.

Students will live in the heart of Downtown Chicago and be able to take advantage of their stay in this first-class city. 



REU Site: Plant Biology & Conservation Research Experiences for Undergraduates - From Genes to Ecosystems. (Supported by NSF awards DBI-0353752, DBI-0648972, DBI-1062675, DBI-1461007, and DBI-1757800)