The Center for Brain and Behavior Research (CBBRe) offers a multi-disciplinary summer research program that gives USD undergraduate students opportunities to conduct mentored, hypothesis-driven research in fields related to substance use and abuse and mental health issues. The program is geared toward first-generation college students from rural backgrounds, but all USD undergraduate students are encouraged to apply.

The program incorporates a wide range of experimental methods with human or animal subjects, including cognitive, behavioral, systems, neuropharmacological, electrophysiological and molecular approaches.

Summer Events

Undergraduate Researchers' Lunch

Meet other summer researchers at our weekly lunches, held from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Thursday from May 25 to July 27 in Lee Medicine Room 105. All undergraduate researchers on campus are welcome to attend. Lunches are provided by the South Dakota Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network. Contact us at cbbre@usd.edu with any questions.

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SPURA 2017 Schedule

SPURA students are required to attend all SPURA-hosted events. Please inform Gina Forster or Brian Burrell if you cannot make an event, as many of these events can be videoconferenced to off-site locations with advanced notice.

All undergraduate researchers on campus are welcome to attend lunches. All others, including mentors and laboratory members, are welcome to attend the weekly Thursday Seminars at 12:30 p.m., as well as the Welcome Day Picnic, RCR training and the SPURA Career Fair.

Date Time Location Event
May 15 3:30-5 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building SPURA Orientation: Introductions, Orientation, Photos
May 15 5:30 p.m. Prentis Park, South Picnic Shelter SPURA Welcome Day Picnic: Student, Mentor and Families Picnic
May 25 12-1:30 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Student Lunch (12 p.m.) and SPURA Seminar (12:30 p.m.): "Neurobiology of Addiction," Gina Forster, Ph.D.
May 31 All Day (optional for SPURA students) Sanford Center, 2301 East 60th Street North, Sioux Falls Eastern South Dakota Research Symposium
June 1 12-12:30 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Student Lunch
June 5 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Responsible Conduct in Research Training, Barbara Goodman, Ph.D.
June 8 12-12:30 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Student Lunch
Week of June 12 By Appointment (30-minute duration) Lee Medical Building SPURA Progress Meetings: Gina Forster, Ph.D. or Brian Burrell, Ph.D.
June 15 12-1:30 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Student Lunch (12 p.m.) and SPURA Seminar (12:30 p.m.): "Synaptic Transmission and How It is Altered by Drugs of Abuse," Brian Burrell, Ph.D.
June 19 3-5 p.m. Atrium, Lee Medical Building SPURA Career Fair
June 22 12-1:30 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Student Lunch (12 p.m.) and SPURA Seminar (12:30 p.m.): "Understanding Sex and Gender in Research," Lisa McFadden, Ph.D.
June 29 12-1:30 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Student Lunch (12 p.m.) and SPURA Seminar (12:30 p.m.):"Professional Skills - Presentations and Dissemination" by Gina Forster, Ph.D.
July 6 12-1:30 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Student Lunch (12 p.m.) and SPURA Seminar (12:30 p.m.): "Stress and the Adolescent Brain: Implications for Addiction and Cognitive Control," Mick Watt, Ph.D.
July 10 By Appointment (30-minute duration) Lee Medical Building SPURA Progress Meetings: Gina Forster, Ph.D. or Brian Burrell, Ph.D.
July 13 12-1:30 p.m. Lee Medical Building Student Lunch (12 p.m.) and Student Presentations (12:30 p.m.)
July 20 12-1:30 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Student Lunch (12 p.m.) and Student Presentations (12:30 p.m.)
July 27 12-1:30 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Student Lunch (12 p.m.) and Student Presentations (12:30 p.m.)
Aug. 3 12-1:30 p.m. Room 105, Lee Medical Building Student Lunch (12 p.m.) and Wrap-Up Session (12:30 p.m.)
Aug. 15-Aug. 16 TBA Muenster University Center SPURA Poster Session: Presentation of Summer Research Project at the CBBRe Symposium

Research Details

Students will work with a faculty mentor for 12 weeks over the summer on a dedicated research project. Faculty involved in this program are members of the departments of biology, psychology, addiction studies, psychiatry and pediatrics, the division of Basic Biomedical Sciences, the School of Business and Sanford Research.

In addition to the day-to-day research with a faculty mentor, the summer program will involve an initial orientation day, training in responsible conduct of research, weekly meetings with the students and faculty in the program, seminars presented by invited speakers in the area of addiction and mental health, and a career fair to inform student of potential careers in addiction and mental health research.

After the summer of research, students will present their work at a program poster session. Students will also present their work at IdeaFest.

Students in the program will receive a $4,800 stipend for the 12-week program and the faculty mentor will receive $1,000 to support the student's research project or students' travel to a meeting to present their work.

Application Details

Eight students are selected for the program based on a competitive application process. Students who have previously participated in SPURA are not eligible to apply again. Learn more and apply by February 15th.

Contact Brian Burrell at bburrell@usd.edu for further information or assistance with the application process.

This summer program is funded by a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) grant number R25-DA033674.

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