Supporting Undergraduates

CRSB supports the education of undergraduates by helping them learn from the experts. Our labs are interested in hosting undergraduates whenever possible.

Check out Undergraduate Research at Berkeley for resources and opportunities.

CRSB staff attend UC Berkeley coalition meetings focused on Education and Outreach (CEO) once a month to learn more about the many resources and ways that outreach, education and diversity staff can combine efforts, and collaborate.


The Coalition for Education & Outreach (CEO) is an informal group of staff, faculty, postdocs and students on the Berkeley campus & surrounding outreach community who work in science, technology, engineering and math education and outreach (E&O). During the academic year CEO holds monthly meetings designed to encourage networking, professional development, and mentoring within E&O.


The Amgen Scholars Program is a national program to increase research opportunities for students committed to pursuing careers in the sciences. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, CRSB and Amgen collaborated to financially support outstanding science undergraduates with research experience increasing participants’ competitiveness as candidates for admission to prestigious graduate and professional institutions. Additionally, this program encourages participants to pursue a Ph.D. or the joint M.D./Ph.D. degree and research careers in the sciences and biotechnology. Applicants from diverse populations and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. This CRSB-Amgen collaboration provides stipends, round-trip travel to Berkeley, opportunities to participate in National systems biology conference, room and board for undergrads, support for mentors, as well as GSA mentor support.



Paige Diamond

Faculty Lab:
Brar Lab
Dr. Gloria Brar

As a scholar in the 2015 CRSB summer program, I had the privilege to work with Dr. Gloria Brar on a project focused on the systematic identification of alternate ORF translation in meiotic yeast cells. Working in this lab, I was exposed to innovative research methods and gained technical skills and knowledge which surpassed those obtained at my home institution, Drake University. Through the program, I was provided the opportunity to attend the National Centers for Systems Biology Conference where I gained increased awareness of the variety of research currently underway in the field of systems biology and was able to present a poster on our research to a diverse crowd of professionals. The UC- Berkeley community is vibrant and beautiful.  Organized social activities allowed us to take advantage of what the area has to offer– a bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge was definitely a highlight.  Overall, I am deeply grateful for this experience, particularly for valuable insight into an advanced research program and the high-quality mentoring received throughout, but also for many new friends and colleagues.

Lauren Thurlow

Faculty Lab:
Cate-Doudna Lab
Dr. Audrone Lapinaite

Before participating in the CRSB Scholars Program, all I had was a passion for nucleic acids research. Now I have the experience and connections to back it up. The program has helped me prepare for graduate school and define my goals for the future – all while working on one of the best molecular biology campuses in the world.


Ryan Muller

Arizona State University

Faculty Lab:
Don Rio, Ph.D. and Ming Hammond, Ph.D.
Dr. Yeon Lee
Development of Cas9 as a Tool for Targeted Regulation of Alternative Splicing (2014)

I was a 2014 CRSB summer fellow, and this past summer I had the pleasure of working with both Dr. Ming Hammond and Dr. Donald Rio as well as mentors Dr. Yeon Lee and Zach Hallberg. I worked on a collaborative, application-driven project in which I explored the novel use of Cas9 as a tool for manipulating alternative splicing. I was quite fortunate in the level of independence I was granted over my research project – a rare feat for many undergraduates – and I woke up each morning excited about my research. Although the summer was characterized by a rush to acquire data, it was not without its relaxing moments. I enjoyed weekend trips with my fellow peers to an eclectic mix of Bay area sites and activities. We explored Btoardwalk/Monterey Bay, traversed the Golden Gate Bridge by bike, and even toured San Francisco in a competitive scavenger hunt, just to name a few. As CRSB fellows we had the privilege of an all-expense-paid trip to the CRSB systems biology conference, where I presented some of my preliminary data and conversed with exceptional minds in the field of systems biology. The summer culminated in an engaging poster symposium and oral presentation and I enjoyed sharing my summer research and learning about my peers’ research projects. I had a productive summer, having equipped myself with an ability to productively pursue independent research, having made numerous friends and important connections, and having created memories and experiences I truly cherish. I am now more excited than ever to pursue a Ph.D in synthetic biology and after this intensive, but enjoyable summer, I have no doubt that I will be ready for the road ahead.

Lydia Pazienza

University of Chicago

Faculty Lab:
Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D.
Dr. Yun Bai
RNA Dynamics in the CRISPR-Cas9 Complex (2014)

Berkeley has afforded me an innumerable amount of opportunities, and quite genuinely has affirmed my future plans. With CRSB funding and support, I was able to work in the Doudna lab and have an amazing summer research experience. While I come from a protein folding background, the chance to work with RNA structural dynamics not only was enriching, but has inspired me to further pursue biophysical and structural studies of RNA and other biological macromolecules in the future. I was also provided a peek into graduate student life and work. While I had already been intending to apply to graduate school, I must say this experience has added a new fervor to my desire to research.

Kelsie Rodriguez

California State University, Monterey Bay

Faculty Lab:
Jamie Cate, Ph.D.
Dr. Duane Smith
Role of Phosphorylation Sites of eIF3j Towards Its Stability and Effect on Cell Proliferation in Neurospora crassa and Human Cells

Funding provided by The Center for RNA Systems Biology has given me the opportunity to work in Professor Jamie Cate’s laboratory this summer on a 10 week research project. During my time in lab I worked on a project under the direction of postdoctoral researcher Duane Smith. We investigated the role of a protein complex involved in translation initiation. As a student currently attending California State University Monterey Bay, a non-Ph.D. granting institution, this research experience has provided me with access to skills and knowledge that would otherwise be unattainable. Through the Center for RNA systems biology, I was able to attend the National Centers for Systems Biology conference in San Diego and present a poster on my summer project. This conference spotlighted labs that are using systems biology approaches towards research in a variety of areas, ranging across the board from microbiology to drug development. Being a part of the conference was a great opportunity to observe the widespread applicability of systems biology and engage in discussion with scientists from diverse research backgrounds. I am very grateful for the experiences I have had this summer at UC Berkeley that have enhanced my overall understanding of the vast culture of research science.  As a result of my time here, I will be continue to expand my interests in biology into a career as a research scientist either in industry or the academic setting, first by attending graduate school and obtaining a Ph.D. I will be applying to graduate schools in the upcoming fall semester.


Our collaboration with Amgen has given us the opportunity to mentor a number of talented students pursuing STEM professions.  Below, Dr. Donald Rio, Senior CRSB faculty, meets with Tamas Nagy and Ryan Muller as they present research findings from their summer undergraduate fellowships (2013).

Ryan and Don poster session T and R poster session