The John Nambu Memorial Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program offers full-time research opportunities with stipend support for FAU undergraduates. Established in the memory of the late Dr. John Nambu, Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, the program provides undergraduates an opportunity to perform cutting-edge research in neuroscience and behavior-oriented labs on the FAU Jupiter and Boca Raton campuses. These scholarships are exciting and once-in-a-lifetime chances to perform research while expanding scientific expertise through networking with fellow undergrads and faculty mentors, writing and presentations skills. Students often complete a thesis through the ten-week program that runs full-time during the summer semester, with the option of continuing their research into the next academic year. The REU experience concludes by highlighting student accomplishments and summer research projects at the annual Nambu REU Research Day.

This year, the fourth annual John Nambu Memorial Summer REU Program will welcome seven participants from a competitive application process. In addition to spending 28 hours per week conducting research in the laboratory, students will participate in weekly mentoring sessions and professional development workshops focusing on topics such as laboratory safety, experimental design, and scientific communication skills. Program participants will learn about innovative neuroscience research and techniques through seminars hosted by the FAU’s Jupiter Life Science Initiative and partner institutions Scripps Florida and the Max Planck Florida Institute. Students will also have the opportunity to network with fellow FAU undergraduates as well as interns from these partner institutions at social gatherings and the program’s culmination. Below is a list of the 2017 REU scholarship recipients, their faculty mentors, and the titles of their research projects.  

Samantha Berner (Dr. Dawson-Scully) -  “Pharmacological Activation of the cGMP-Dependent Protein Kinase Molecular Pathway in Drosophila melanogaster to Increase Anoxic Tolerance”

Micael Idani (Dr. Godenschwege) -  “Characterization of the neuroprotective role of Dsd and Mgrn1 in Drosophila

Stephanie Lazo (Dr. Macleod) -  “Determination of Quantal size at different neurons synapsing at the same target”

Heather Nick (Dr. Jia) -  "The Relationship Between Autophagy and Social Feeding Behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans

Rodeania Peart (Dr. Blakely) -  "Gender-Biased Cocaine Conditioned Place Preference in DAT Val559 Mice”

Jonathan Rivera (Dr. Stackman) -  "How did I get here? Selective activation of head direction cells"

Joshua Torres (Dr. Keene) -  “Geographic Variation In Sleep and Metabolism Within A Single Species of Drosophila

REU 2017 Winners

Pictured from Left to Right: Joshua Torres, Stephanie Lazo, Micael Idani, Samantha Berner, Jonathan Rivera, and Heather Nick.


In 2016, the third annual John Nambu Memorial Summer REU program sponsored a record nine undergraduate students that participated in summer research projects covering a broad range of approaches, from molecular to behavioral. Below is a list of the 2016 REU scholarship recipients, their faculty mentors, and the titles of their research projects.  

Veronica Nunez (Dr. Godenschwege) - “Identifying sites for local translation in the Giant Fiber Circuit of Drosophila melanogaster.

Danielle Riboul (Dr. Stackman) – “Which way is it? Head Direction cells and their genes.”

Claudia Tinoco Troncoso (Dr. Dawson-Scully) – “Age-Related Diseases: Effects of PKG on D. melanogaster’s Longevity and Locomotor Function.”

Cici Nicholas (Dr. Jia) – “Identification of Putative Food Signals Controlling C. elegans larval development.”

Keeley Spiess (Dr. Blakely) – “Gender-Biased Psychostimulant Responses in the DAT A559V ADHD Mouse Model.”   

Priscilla Lauriano (Dr. Keene) – "Age-Related Sleep Changes in Drosophila melanogaster."

Laura Arango (Dr. Macleod) – “Voltage Gated Calcium Channels of Type II Axon Terminals in Fruit Flies.”

Matthew Kovic (Dr. Keene) – "The Evolution of Wake-Promoting Neural Circuits In Cave Fish Anatomy and Quantifying Egg Injection Success Rates."

Joseph Balbona (Dr. Blakely) – “Characterizing the role of swip-10 in the regulation of C. elegans dopamine neuron morphology.”




 Pictured from Left to Right: Cici Nicholas, Matt Kovic, Priscilla Lauriano, Danielle Riboul, Keely Spiess, Veronica Nunez, Joseph Balbona, Claudia Tinoco Troncoso, Laura Arango, and Dr. Cathy Trivigno (faculty mentor).