Laboratory Research Experience Program (LRE)

Laboratory Research Experience in partnership with BGSI

Scholar Eligibility

Undergraduate students (sophomore, junior, or senior standing) from the US and abroad are encouraged to apply and participate in the program. Those accepted must have taken both general and organic chemistry (with accompanying laboratory classes). Successful applicants will be among the top 10% of their respective class and must demonstrate fluency in English. Please note that this is a highly selective program and the research being performed is based in chemistry, materials science, and chemical engineering.


For questions, please contact:

Application Period Closed

The LRE Program is not being offered in 2023. Please check back again later for info on our next session.

Certificate of Completion

Scholars who complete the entirety of the six-week Laboratory Research Experience program will earn a Certificate of Completion from UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry signed by Dean Douglas Clark. Scholars will also earn a letter of recommendation for their graduate school application written by a College of Chemistry faculty member.

The LRE Program is not being offered in 2023. Please check back again later for info on our next session.

Six-Week Intensive Laboratory Research Experience

Sessions held at UC Berkeley

Through Dean Douglas S. Clark and the College of Chemistry, Professor Omar M. Yaghi, Professor Peidong Yang, and Mr. Kyle E. Cordova have designed a laboratory research experience program. This is a non-credit bearing summer enrichment program for emerging scholars who seek to learn hands-on about research techniques in a group laboratory setting. Through this program, you will learn to think independently, process advanced concepts and apply theory, effectively communicate and substantiate your ideas to others, and build group dynamic skills while being mentored through the modules listed below.

The Laboratory Research Experience program distinguishes itself from other research-based programs in the following aspects:

  1. Brought to you by the TOP RANKED chemistry program in the world. The Laboratory Research Experience program is administered and delivered by the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and is taught by its own globally ranked faculty.
  2. Science in ACTION. As a participating scholar, you will be exposed to advanced techniques, including, but not limited to, X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy (SEM and TEM), surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, gas adsorption, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
  3. Exposure to cutting-edge research. Participating scholars will attend workshops to learn about the research that is done at UC Berkeley and at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
  4. Provides invaluable insight into graduate school life at UC Berkeley. The program is designed to mirror life in graduate school. Participating scholars will attend weekly seminars provided by UC Berkeley faculty and mingle with current UC Berkeley students to solicit their advice on the graduate school application process and to get a better sense of graduate school life.
  5. Continuous interaction with Berkeley professors and students. Continuous interactions will better inform UC Berkeley professors and mentors when writing recommendation letters.

Yu-Sin Liu, LRE StudentThanks to the LRE program, I learned a lot of new knowledge and gained experience in new techniques regarding emerging materials. I also gained hands-on experience in conducting experiments, presenting academic posters, and writing academic papers independently. I had the opportunity to gain insight into cutting-edge research by interacting with top scientists and young scholars from around the world. I highly recommend the LRE program to undergraduates who are planning for an advanced education in chemistry.

- Yu-Sin Liu, LRE Emerging Scholar, 2018

Al ZahraniI was fortunate to join the Laboratory Research Experience program (LRE), organized by the University of California, Berkeley. The daily laboratory work and the interaction with top graduate students enhanced my working knowledge about reticular chemistry and confirmed to me that this is the area I want to work in during my Ph.D. This program helped me to develop as a well-trained researcher, enriched my scientific knowledge, and expanded my expertise in this particular field of research. It also exposed me to state-of-the-art research facilities and allowed me to interact with emerging scholars from around the world. I am now at my home university with more enthusiasm for my work, as well as a deeper understanding of what I am doing.

- Abdulhadi Al-Zahrani, LRE Emerging Scholar, 2018

Liron Cohen, LRE studentLRE exceeded all of my expectations—It gave me confidence and direction for my future as a chemist. Each week out provides you with hands-on experience in different fields to guide you to what really is your passion. We made MOFs, COFs, OLED and synthesized various nanoparticles—things you wouldn't be exposed to in your usual undergraduate lab. We had weekly seminars with faculty which was absolutely my favorite, as we got to hear these outstanding professors explain their research face to face. I would recommend LRE to anyone considering graduate studies in chemistry.

-Liron Cohen, LRE Emerging Scholar, 2017

Laboratory Research Experience Curriculum

Week 1: Investigation of Superacidity using Metal-Organic Frameworks with Applications in Catalytic Organic Transformations

  • Superacidity and acid-base chemistry
  • 'Crystals as Molecules': Post-synthetic modification
  • Inert atmosphere synthetic techniques
  • Hammett indicator analysis
  • Heterogeneous catalysis for petrochemical refining
  • Mass spectrometry characterization techniques
  • Distinguished Scholar Seminar: Professor Kristie Boering

Week 2: Fabrication, Characterization, and Modification of Next Generation Batteries

  • Fabrication of next generation batteries
  • Hands-on use of electrochemical workstation and battery analyzer
  • Developing new strategies to improve battery performance
  • Distinguished Scholar Seminar: Professor Ting Xu

Week 3: Harvesting Water from Air

  • Synthesis of different metal-organic frameworks for water sorption on larger scales
  • Characterization of the respective materials (nitrogen sorption, water sorption isotherm, etc.)
  • Water harvesting with synthesized materials using Berkeley's sun
  • Distinguished Scholar Seminar: Professor Markita Landry

Week 4: Tailoring the Activity and Selectivity of Nanocatalysts Using a Size Tunable Synthesis

  • Colloidal synthesis of varying sized nanoparticles
  • Hands-on use of UV-Vis absorption, powder X-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy for structure and size estimation
  • Determining nanocatalyst selectivity using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for products identification and quantification
  • Using nano-design to meet an efficiency target in catalysis
  • Distinguished Scholar Seminar: Professor Kristin Persson

Week 5: Covalent Chemistry Beyond the Molecule: Covalent Organic Frameworks

  • Computational modeling of extended structures
  • Hands-on optimization of solid-state COF synthesis
  • Powder X-ray diffraction and structure determination
  • Surface area and pore size distribution analysis
  • Spectroscopy characterization (NMR and FT-IR) and thermal gravimetric analysis
  • Distinguished Scholar Seminar: Professor Dean Toste

Week 6: Effective Communication, Better Science

  • Keys to success in publishing high impact scientific results
  • How to effectively communicate your results via oral and poster presentations
  • College of Chemistry graduate student shadowing
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory tour (Advanced Light Source and Molecular Foundry)
  • Poster presentation at the Berkeley Emerging Research Scholars (BERS) Symposium
  • Distinguished Scholar Seminar: Nobel Laureate speaker, Professor Fraser Stoddart

Scholars who complete the entirety of the six-week Laboratory Research Experience program will earn a Certificate of Completion from UC Berkeley's College of Chemistry signed by Dean Douglas Clark. Scholars will also earn a letter of recommendation for their graduate school application written by a College of Chemistry faculty member.

The following activities will augment the laboratory learning experience and prepare emerging scholars for doctoral studies:

  • Weekly seminars and lunches with UC Berkeley faculty
  • Regular mentorship provided by current UC Berkeley Ph.D. and post-doctoral scholars
  • Opportunity to present your research to the entire College of Chemistry at the culmination of the program
  • Tours of various laboratories, the Advanced Light Source synchrotron, and the Molecular Foundry, as well as the UC Berkeley campus

contact information

For questions, please contact:

Recruiting Partner

ShareFace and International Study Partners are the authorized recruiting partners for LRE.

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