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Biochemistry Research Trainee Program

The BMB Biochemistry Research Trainee Program (BRTP) provides paid practical training in an academic environment for those exploring career opportunities prior to continuing in graduate education or work in the public or private sector.

Students with an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry or a related field who are interested in gaining additional research experience may arrange to work in the laboratory under the BRTP.

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Our BRTP students work side-by-side with graduate students and postdocs, and obtain experience in scientific techniques, experimental design, and oral presentations.

Biochemistry Research Trainee Program Guidelines


Applicants should have a B.S./B.A. degree in Biochemistry or in an allied field with biochemistry course work, with an overall grade point average of 3.2/4.0 or higher.

How to Apply

Applicants should submit a resume, a statement of purpose and research interests, two confidential letters of recommendation and an official undergraduate transcript. In addition, identification of several faculty whose research is of interest would be helpful in the evaluation of the application. All materials may be sent electronically to Program Assistant Jessica Lawrence at jesslaw@msu.edu or to the address listed below:

Biochemistry Research Trainee Program
Department of Biochemistry Michigan State University
603 Wilson Road, Room 106
East Lansing, MI 48824-1319

Program Director
Laurie S. Kaguni, Ph.D

Program Assistant
Jessica Lawrence
  (517) 353-0807

Applications will be reviewed as positions become available, and remain active for a period of six months. Fall, Spring and Summer Semester start dates are possible.


The BRTP is intended to extend the training of B.S. graduates in modern biochemical research techniques to prepare them for the rigors of laboratory research in a graduate program, or to enable them to secure technical positions in industry. The trainee will learn a variety of research techniques to enable him or her to pursue a specific research project, and will spend seventy-five percent of his or her time on this project. The balance of the time will be spent in learning to design experiments, to survey the literature to adapt or apply new techniques to the project, to analyze and present data, and to participate in laboratory meetings to discuss the progress of the project. Attending the Biochemistry Colloquium is required to expose trainees to the different approaches used in a wide variety of research studies. At the beginning of the training program, the trainee will meet with his/her mentor, and a list of individual objectives will be drafted, taking into consideration the trainee's plans and career goals and the research needs of the mentor, and a target completion date will be established. These objectives will be used to measure the success of the trainee's completion of the program. These objectives will be outlined in a letter to the Chairperson of the Department of Biochemistry, with a copy provided to the trainee.


The trainee will be expected to devote forty hours per week to the traineeship. Time will be occupied with bench research work, and training program studies, as described in the above objectives. The trainee is required to obtain and document some form of health coverage, and must register in BMB 978, Biochemistry Colloquium, each Fall and Spring semesters, BMB 855, Special Problems in Biochemistry, Summer semester. The trainee must complete all required laboratory and university-mandated safety and employee training prior to embarking on a laboratory research project.

Remuneration and Benefits

Upon written approval of the Chairperson of the Department of Biochemistry, appointments will be made for a period of one year, renewable for up to one year depending on progress and the availability of funds. The BRTP has two salary step levels, Level 1 and 2, respectively; the two corresponding salary levels are $32,000 and $33,000 (2024-2025 levels). This compensation includes funds for the trainee to purchase health insurance coverage and to enroll in the required academic course. Scheduling of vacation will be in conjunction with the trainee's mentor.

Interim Progress Reports

At the end of each six months of participation in the BRTP, the trainee will submit a 2-3 page typed progress report to the Director, with the endorsement of the mentor. This report should identify the research goal(s), experimental approach and specific results and conclusions for the previous period, and indicate the plans for continuing the project. The report should be written solely by the trainee, and will serve as evidence of progress in the BRTP. If the Director or mentor finds deficiencies in either the report or progress, efforts to rectify the problems should be taken immediately by the trainee. Failure to do so may constitute grounds for termination of the appointment.

Certification of Completion

At the conclusion of the trainee's training program, if the objectives have been met as established or amended during the training program, the Department of Biochemistry will certify the trainee's participation in and successful completion of the BRTP. The certification will generally include a letter of recommendation from the mentor that will elaborate the achievements of the trainee in the program.