The aim of our REU program is to expose undergraduate students to research experiences regarding interrelated Food, Energy and Water Security (FEWS) issues. We offer a fertile training ground for our country’s future leaders in areas of renewable energy, biomass production, water purification and the science of soil amendment to enhance food security. Targeted students for this program include undergraduates in the majors of chemistry, biochemistry, engineering, and other related STEM fields. Our recruiting efforts will remained aimed at the rich student pool from undergraduate institutions and HBCU’s that have limited research opportunities and community college programs located in the Southeastern United States. Our program will expose undergraduate students to a breadth of research on related Food, Energy and Water Security topics and allow for connections of chemistry across disciplinary boundaries.

2019 Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU): Food, Energy, and Water Security

Program: The Mississippi State University Chemistry Department seeks applicants for an interdisciplinary NSF-supported summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program occurring in 2019. 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. (Click here) for more information on each project.

Eligibility: Undergraduate student participants must have completed their freshman 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:
03/01/2019: applications due
05/28/2019: experience begins
08/03/2019: experience ends

For more information, including research projects and application, see (website link) or contact program director Dr. Deb Mlsna at

Example Research Projects
 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.

REU Photo Galleries

2018 Selfies

2018 Photo Contest