Fostering Future Scientists: Inside the B3 Summer Research Program – Dr. David Jeruzalmi

by Malina Seenarine

The B3 (biophysics, biochemistry and biodesign) program, designed and directed by Dr. David Jeruzalmi, a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at City College, gives undergraduate students a unique opportunity to work alongside faculty for a summer.

“I’ve been in labs where there were undergraduates around and it’s not a big stretch to recognize that it was transformative for me, and it’s transformative for the students who I mentored myself,” Jeruzalmi said in an interview with The RICC. “It brings them outside of their normal orbits with peers and folks who are professionals.” 

Every summer, ten sophomores and juniors work in faculty labs for 10 weeks. B3 is a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program funded by the National Science Foundation. The goal of the NSF funded program is to prepare students going into STEM fields. This program is one of the only REUs in the country that focuses on biophysics.

With around 400 applications annually, B3 has successfully completed seven iterations. Students from earlier summer sessions are employed now in their fields at biotech and chemical companies or have advanced in schooling by working on their PhDs or starting medical training. 

Every three years, the program goes through a renewal process. The program tracks participants to learn about their experiences and how it has affected their perspective on going into STEM. 

This summer, an abbreviated B3 program is being run. Four students will have the opportunity to work with Jeruzalmi’s lab as well as Dr. Reza Khayat from chemistry and Dr. Steve Nickel from biomedical engineering.

Seeing the program’s success thus far, Jeruzalmi will continue to support B3 as long as he can. In the future, he hopes to recruit a colleague to take over to ensure its longevity.

“A lot of REU sites are long lived. So we want to be one of those because we think what we’re doing is important, and we think that we’re filling a need and a niche,” he said.

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