2020 Summer REU: Food, Energy, and Water Security

Apply now!

The Mississippi State University Chemistry Department seeks applicants for an interdisciplinary NSF-supported summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program occurring in 2020. Students who have completed their freshman year of college and who have not yet graduated can participate fully in the Food, Energy and Water Security Summer Research Program activities and work on a research project under the direction of a faculty mentor. The cohort of students will participate in exciting renewable energy research projects as well as professional development, social and outreach activities. Student participants will receive a $5,000 stipend, a housing and meal plan for ten weeks, and travel assistance.

Renewable energy offers exciting possibilities for research. Students will be offered the opportunity to engage in research related to the production of biofuels, and the application of biochar materials to water purification and soil amendment. Research projects include the growth of biomass impacted through soil amendment, the creation and purification of biofuels from organic matter, and the purification of wastewater and lagoons using biochars. Complementary workshops will also be included that emphasize career paths in environmentally focused fields with discussions on running a small business and entrepreneurial pathways.


Undergraduate student participants must have completed their freshmen year of college but not yet graduated, and must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. Students from a variety of majors will be considered including chemistry, biochemistry, all engineering majors and environmental sciences. Underrepresented groups in science are strongly encouraged to apply, including minorities, women, and first-generation college students.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Applications due 03/01/2020
Experience begins 06/01/2020
Experience ends 08/06/2020

For more information, including details on research project, contact program director Dr. Deb Mlsna (dmlsna@chemistry.msstate.edu). 

Research Projects

The proposed REU will have research projects in the following areas:

• Assessing biomass feedstock for conversion into biofuels and other chemicals.
• Conversion of waste wood into biofuels through gasification and Fischer Tropsch process.
• Conversion of waste wood into biofuels through pyrolysis and bio-oil upgrading using hydrodeoxygenation.
• Development of multi-functional catalysts for the catalytic conversion of synthesis gas and bio-oil into hydrocarbon biofuels.
• Development and testing of green adsorbents for water purification of toxic chemicals.
• Materials and methods for removing excess nutrients from the environment and thereby reducing eutrophication.
• Green house studies to development and test of green soil amendments.
• Development of catalysts and methods aimed at producing a range of stable liquid fuels for a variety of applications.
• Utilizing wastewater as a valuable source for water and energy recovery through microbial desalination.
• Using advanced NMR techniques to monitor the performance of green adsorbents with complex mixtures.
• Analysis of Microplastics in Marine Animals using Optical Spectroscopic Methods.

REU Photo Galleries

2018 Selfies

2018 Photo Contest