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Biophysics REU with no biology background

  1. Feb 25, 2015 #1
    So here's the thing, I just heard back from a university with an REU offer. I'm super excited and this was definitely my top choice, however the research is in computational biophysics.

    Again, I'm definitely excited to learn more about the research, but I'm also terrified. I grew up going to a very religious school, and as a result I have never, not once, taken a course in any sort of life sciences. I'm looking at the research of my mentor, and it looks like Greek to me. The computational part is something I'm comfortable with - I've had some research experience in computational particle physics and a few publications. But biophysics is a whole new world to me.

    On a scale from 1 to 10... how in trouble am I?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2015 #2


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    If the REU is anything like the NSERC undergraduate research internships that are offered in Canada, then I don't think you have anything to worry about, since undergraduate students are not expected to know all that much about the research area beforehand. IMHO, I think you should consider the REU as an opportunity to learn and expand your horizons in areas you weren't familiar with.
  4. Feb 25, 2015 #3


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    I agree with StatGuy2000. The point of a research internship for an undergraduate student is to learn about the field - not to know everything about it going in.

    In biophysics the physicists usually handle the physics part and they collaborate with biologist to handle the biology part. That said, you should know enough to converse intelligently on the project. So if you're excited about the position - start reading and asking questions.
  5. Feb 25, 2015 #4
    Most biophysicists have no background in biology when they begin their PhD studies, much less when they do undergraduate research!
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