Undergraduate Research


Research is an inquiry or creative project that makes an original contribution to the student's discipline. According to this definition there are several aspects that characterize someone who engages in undergraduate research:

  • Curiosity - Inquiry requires you to ask, probe, question, investigate, and examine.
  • Creativity - This requires you to have original ideas, take new approaches, use new methods, use your imagination.
  • Contributor - You must work with others to achieve something, provide support, add to the existing body of knowledge.
  • Passion - There is a specific field, subject, or area of study to which you want to contribute or impact.


Participating in undergraduate research allows students to pursue their interests, solve problems, hone their critical thinking skills, and make real contributions to knowledge within their fields. There are many benefits to conducting undergraduate research while at USF:

  • Students who participate in research are more likely to demonstrate higher academic achievement and excel in school.
  • Those who conduct undergraduate research have an advantage when applying to graduate school.
  • Participating in research helps students determine career goals and instills a set of transferable skills, making then more competitive in the job market.
  • Conducting research allows students to build relationships with faculty members and other experts in their fields.
  • Getting involved in research gives students access to more scholarships, awards, conferences, stipends, and academic credit.

Getting started

Getting involved in Undergraduate Research at USF may seem overwhelming at first. We've developed the IDS 2912 Undergraduate Research course to walk you step by step through the process. This course has been set up for you as a launching pad into your research journey here at USF!

IDS 2912,  is a course that unites students across majors who are interested in improving their understanding of what research is and finding out how to obtain a faculty mentor for their research pursuits. For Spring 2023, this course is offered in an hybrid format as a 3 credit course.

Register for the Spring 2023 course using CRN 19793.


The Office of High Impact Practices and Undergraduate Research (HIPUR) offers an option for research activity on your transcript. For more information, visit the Research on your Transcript page.

USF Libraries Workshops for Researchers

Interested in learning Tableau for data visualizations, EndNote or Zotero for citation management or how to use environmental data sets? If so, the USF libraries have you covered with their workshops for researchers. View and register these offerings and more on the library calendar.


Michah Johnson, Ph.D. Substance Misuse & Addictions Research Traineeship Lab

Seeking 1-2 undergraduate students for unpaid research assistance. 

Dr. Micah Johnson, professor in the Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, and his team of researchers are seeking an undergraduate student (or two) from any USF campus to assist with research transcription and thematic coding for a project being conducted in the Substance Misuse & Addictions Research Traineeship (SMART) Lab.  

This opportunity is best suited for a Junior/Senior who has up-to-date CITI requirements for Human subjects behavioral and social research. The research project can be done concurrently with other school obligations as the majority of activities can be done virtually.

Please note, the selected student(s) should be available to meet with the research team for 1-2 hours per week during standard business hours.   

Research Project Details:

Commitment: 4-6 hours a week 
Projected Time Frame: October 2022-February 2023 
Contact: Chantae Ciceron, Ph.D.  
Deadline: October 2, 2022 

Interested students should submit their application, CV, Statement of Interest, via this link: Substance Misuse & Addictions Research Traineship Lab

Ruel R. Billones, Ph.D. - Positively Quit Study, Trauma interventions 

Ruel R. Billones, PhD Post Doctoral Fellow, College of Nursing

Positively Quit Study, Trauma interventions for people with chronic health conditions

This is a smoking cessation study for people with chronic conditions.
It involves trauma-informed care for persons with chronic health conditions.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Duties:

  • Training in fidelity assessment of group behavioral intervention
  • Trauma questionnaire development
  • Data monitoring, day to day operations of the research
  • Public presentations
  • Manuscript preparation for publication

Required Skills and Training:

  • Psychology majors and social science majors
  • Willingness to be trained in web based research designs and applications
  • Interested to learn more on trauma informed interventions
  • Want to do scientific writing in order to publish

Research Project Details:

  • Students are required to commit 10 hours a week.
  • The research is continupus and ongoing
  • Interested students should contact Ruel R. Billones.

Tanetha ("Fisher") Grosland, Ph.D. - Curriculum Studies Research Assistant

The goal of this research project is to understand the current state of curriculum studies in educational leadership and policy and identify shared goals for leadership and policy. This includes investigating the policies and curricula in place in school reform (domestic and internationally), the current leadership practices, and the state of adult learning for educators.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Duties:

  • Conduct literature/library searches on curriculum, leadership, and policy studies
  • Communicate effectively with USF's internal and external stakeholders
  • Implement strategies, systems, and tools to enhance existing practices
  • Create, update, and maintain procedures and process
  • Enter data into spreadsheets
  • Perform tasks independently and with the highest attention to detail

Required Skills and Training:

  • Experience working with basic computer apps/programs (including internal USF systems like Canvas)
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Familiarity with MS Suite (e.g., Word, Excel, PPT)

Research Project Details:

  • Students are required to commit 5-10 hours a week.
  • Research will occur on USF Tampa campus.
  • Project time frame: January 2021-June 2022
  • Interested students should contact Tanetha ("Fisher") Grosland.

Elizabeth Hadley, Ph.D. - Head Start Literacy & Language Research Project

Discipline: Education

The goal of this research project is to understand the current state of literacy instruction in Head Start classrooms and identify shared goals for improving literacy teaching and learning. As part of this goal, we will investigate the policies, curricula and standards in place in Head Start, learn about current teacher practices and classroom instruction, and assess Head Start children on their language and literacy skills.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Duties:

  • Assess preschool children on language and literacy skills
  • Video-record preschool classroom instruction
  • Organize consent forms and other data
  • Enter data into spreadsheets

Required Skills and Training:

  • Experience working with young children
  • Familiarity with Excel and Qualtrics
  • Transportation to school sites
  • Students will need to complete IRB Human Subjects training and fingerprinting/background check before working with children

Research Project Details:

  • Students are required to commit 5-10 hours a week
  • USF Tampa campus
  • Project time frame: October 2021-June 2022
  • Contact Elizabeth Hadley

Ji Li, Ph.D. - Cardiovascular Medicine and Pharmacology Research Opportunity

Dr. Ji Li, Professor in the Department of Surgery at USF and his team of postdoc fellows and technicians are interested in training undergraduate students in all aspects of heart research (research design, animal experiments and biochemical analysis). Dr. Li’s group seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms of coronary artery disease, the most common cause of age-related cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Li’s lab welcomes all hard-working and conscientious students, but those with an interest in in cardiovascular medicine and pharmacology are best suited for this opportunity. You need to be up-to-date on your CITI requirements for MCOM’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) - having done the related training for animal facility and biosafety operations as required. The research projects can be done concurrently with other school obligations, utilizing weekends, and school breaks with flexible hours per week.

Interested individuals should forward their resume or CV, Statement of research Interest, and contact information to Dr. Ji Li.

Haitao (Mark) Ji, Ph.D. - Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology Research Opportunity

Dr. Ji’s research is Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology. The research efforts of this laboratory are mainly focused on the rational design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of drug-like small molecules that can modulate cellular signaling pathways with an emphasis on protein–protein interactions (PPIs) and target specificity. Four critical lab components include protein structure-based drug design, multiple-step synthesis, and molecular and cellular biology. Ji laboratory is located in H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.

Undergraduate students in the Ji laboratory are involved in synthetic organic chemistry, synthetic medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, and molecular and cell biology studies. Undergraduate students who wish to join Ji laboratory should have completed Organic Chemistry I and II, and related laboratory courses.

Interested individuals should send their resume with a list of completed coursework to Selected applicants might be asked to submit transcripts. Lindsey Rodriguez, Ph.D. - USF HEART (Healthy Emotions and Relationship Theories) Laboratory Opportunity

*Psychology & Public Health Majors Only*

Dr. Lindsey Rodriguez

Dr. Lindsey Rodriguez is the Director of the USF HEART (Healthy Emotions and Relationship Theories) Laboratory at USF St. Petersburg. In the HEART Lab, we study close relationship processes from a social and health psychology perspective. We also study how alcohol and other addictive behaviors intersect with close relationships. Undergraduate research assistants in the lab are asked to perform various duties, including literature searches, running participants for in-lab studies, and programming surveys. We also are an active lab in professional development for students, creating CVs and presentations at conferences to increase the likelihood of attending graduate school in psychology.

Students must have a 3.0 GPA to apply. Please email Dr. Rodriguez with any questions or for an application.

Jason Lazarus - Studio Art Research & Project Opportunities

Jason Lazarus, who received his MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, is an Assistant Professor of Art and Art History whose research and art practice focuses on vision and visibility. Lazarus' projects often culminate in gallery and museum installations both nationally and internationally. His work and research can be found on his website.

Lazarus' studio welcomes ambitious, well-organized, and forward-thinking students searching for meaning beyond the classroom that is certain to newly inform their curricular studies. Students with both experience in the arts and those without are invited to inquire about studio projects work that may align with their own fluid interests. Tasks will be wide-ranging per project--the studio strives to provide real mentorship, dialogue, and training to future visionaries.

The research projects can be done concurrently with other school obligations, utilizing weekends, and school breaks with flexible hours per week.

Students are welcome to contact the studio at with a CV and cover letter.

Jennifer Collins, Ph.D. - USF Weather Lab Research Opportunity

Would you be interested in being a tester on evacuation surveys. The USF Hurricane team have surveys which need pre-testing this semester before they are disseminated to the public.

Some will be available for pre-testing as early as October 12th 2020. Testers needed for English, Spanish, and Creole surveys.

Are you interested in creating an annotated bibliography on California Wildfires and evacuation. This work will then be used by the Weather Lab towards new evacuation studies.

Please contact Jennifer Collins and copy Amy Polen if interested. If you are fluent in Spanish or Creole, please let us know (but not required).

Please let us know if interested in both opportunities or just one.

We look forward to welcoming you to our team.

Jennifer Collins

Lei Wang, Ph.D. - Molecular mechanism of acute kidney injury and transplanted graft failure

Dr. Wang is assistant professor at the department of molecular pharmacology and physiology. Dr. Wang is willing to give hand-on training undergraduate students in research design, molecular biology experiments and animal surgeries. The research efforts of this laboratory are focused on two principal areas: 1) the mechanisms of the renal graft dysfunction and fibrosis induced by ischemia reperfusion injury following kidney transplantation; 2) renal hemodynamics, salt-water balance and blood pressure regulation under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.

Dr. Wang’s lab welcomes all hard-working and conscientious students. Students will be involved the project design, molecular biology experiments, animal surgeries, specimen collection, literature searching and data analysis.

Interested students would require MCOM’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) required training for working with animals and laboratory bio-safety operations.

Students are expected to commit at least 8 hours a week.

Dr. Wang's lab located at MDC on the USF Tampa campus. Compensation varies.

Interested individuals should forward their resume or CV and contact information to Dr. Lei Wang.

Natalie Scenters-Zapico, Assistant Professor, Director of the Michael Kuperman Memorial Poetry Library - Michael Kuperman Memorial Poetry Library Internship in Literary Activism 

The Department of English’s Creative Writing Program is home to the Michael Kuperman Memorial Poetry Library. We are offering an undergraduate internship with a focus on literary activism. The Undergraduate Student Intern (USI) will work closely with the MKMP Library’s Director to help organize programming that brings poetry to the greater Tampa Bay area. This internship will begin Spring 2022.

The MKMP Library’s USI will be involved in organizing and advertising workshops, readings, and other events. They will also curate their own exhibit in the library using our poetry resources.

Students interested in applying will need to be interested in literary programming, activism, and the study of poetry.

Preferred Qualifications Include:

  • Experience advertising events and working in a library atmosphere, as well as excellent organizational skills.
  • Students will be asked to commit 3-6 hours a week.
  • Students will be required to work on the Tampa campus starting Spring 2022 with the opportunity for renewal of appointment each year after that.
  • There is no pay for this position.

Interested students can contact: Natalie Scenters-Zapico, Assistant Professor.

Jennifer O'Brien, Ph.D. - Cognitive Aging Research Opportunity

*Application review will begin Spring 2022*

Open volunteer RA positions are available in the lab of Dr. Jennifer O'Brien in the Psychology department on the St. Petersburg campus to assist with the Preventing Alzheimer's with Cognitive Training (PACT) trial. RAs are responsible for telephone recruitment, participant screening, and data entry.

This position requires a minimum of 10 hours per week with a mandatory 1.5-hour lab meeting; minimum 2-year commitment.

Students require a 3.0 GPA, CITI training in Social-Behavioral-Educational (SBE - can be completed once you begin), Good Clinical Practice (GCP- can be completed once you begin) training, good communication skills, willingness to speak over the phone to participants.

Preferred Qualifications Include:

  • Bilingual English/Spanish
  • Undergraduate coursework in Research Methods
  • Familiarity with REDCap.

Please send CV including expected graduation date, short personal statement, CITI training certificate (if you have it), and GCP certificate (if you have it) to Dr. O'Brien.

Narasaiah Kolliputi, PhD- Pulmonary Biology Research Opportunity in Morsani College of Medicine

Our lab focuses on translational strategies to attenuate oxidative stress-mediated acute lung injury (ALI), pulmonary fibrosis, and environmental metal toxicity. Students will be conducting pulmonay research and summarizing findings. Our lab is within the Morsani College of Medicine in the Division of Allergy and Immunology. 

Required/Preferred Skills:

Writing skills required
A biology background is preferred but not required
Data collection and the ability to interpret data results

For more information, please contact: 

Narasaiah Kolliputi, PhD
Associate Professor
Division Director of Research Education
Division of Allergy and Immunology
Department of Internal Medicine
Department of Molecular Medicine
College of Medicine, MDC 19, Room: 4134,

University of South Florida
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33612
Phone: 813-974-5419, FAX: 813-905-9804

 Challenges Finding A Faculty Mentor

Suggestions for finding opportunities

If a faculty member declines to serve as your faculty mentor, don’t be discouraged. This may say more about the professor’s prior commitments than it does about the merits of your project.

If you have received a “no” or a non-response, consider the following steps:

  • Give it time (if they don't answer in 24 hours). Wait a week for follow-up.
  • Look creatively beyond the "matchmaking" lists on this website; there may be other ways to identify faculty who would work with you.
  • Broaden your interest and put your dream project on hold.
  • Re-frame your request-ask for an informational interview, not looking for research explicitly.
  • Use your social capital--consider working with a faculty member you are taking a class with now (or have in the past).
  • Network with the student organization Undergraduate Research Society and connect with successful undergraduate researchers to gain tips.
  • Find an advocate--talk to a graduate student researcher about opportunities (note: this route involves more legwork).
  • Approach a different faculty member in that same department--possibly with a more broad request instead of targeted (or change the target to match the new faculty member's research interests)?
  • Search the HIPUR opportunities above for ideas that might not be your first choice, but are acceptable.
  • Search for REU opportunities at your chosen department's website, or the NSF website.
  • Consider Tampa-Bay area research opportunities off-campus.
  • Attend seminars/events/conferences where prominent faculty in your field are represented and network (these events could be USF-centric or not).
  • Research does not necessarily only involve getting a position within a faculty member’s lab; you can introduce a research proposal yourself that a faculty member may help you with.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)