The Danforth Center is a highly collaborative institution and interns find an interactive and supportive atmosphere. The goal of this unique program is to give each student insight into the research environment, as well as to teach valuable research skills. Center staff work to facilitate connections among interns and their scientific colleagues through discussion forums, informal lunches, social gatherings and through the Center's daily "tea time".


Our internship program is a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site sponsored by the National Science Foundation. 


The program spans 11 weeks each summer.  The 2020 Summer program dates are May 26 - August 7, 2020 (applications are due February 5, 2020).    

Students from universities across the nation are matched with a scientist who is a senior researcher at the Danforth Center. Interns learn about a diverse set of research areas including:
  • Abiotic Stress
  • Biofortification
  • Bioenergy
  • Bioinformatics and genomics
  • Bioremediation
  • Cell Biology
  • Cellular Signaling
  • Development
  • Enabling Technologies
  • Metabolic Pathways/Engineering
  • Structural Biology
  • Translational Plant Science

Throughout the 11 weeks, students will:
  • Gain hands-on experience in the lab and learn the use of a variety of technologies for research.
  • Attend workshops in the Center's state-of-the-art support facilities, including Bioinformatics, Integrated Microscopy, Phenotypingthe Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics, and the Tissue Culture and Transformation Facility.
  • Participate in career pathway discussions with experienced researchers and take field trips to local universities and industries with plant or life science focuses.
  • Attend weekly seminars on issues related to biotechnology. These discussions are structured to give students insight into the social, political, and economic implications of current research--and to allow them to share their opinions, as well.
  • At the end of the summer session, each intern will present a summary of his/her research in the Center's theater before an audience of scientific peers. A brief written report is also required and students will be carefully guided through the process of preparation of the written report and oral presentation. The presentation and report are a vital part of the education of young scientists.



Interns are expected to:
  • Be present for the full eleven-week period.
  • Work at least 40 hours per week during this time. No vacations will be permitted during the 11-week program (except for official Danforth Center-wide holidays such as Memorial Day and Independence Holidays).  Other necessary absences may be requested and are subject to the approval of the internship program staff and laboratory mentor(s).
  • Turn in a research paper at the end of the program.
  • Attend the all-day symposium on the final day of the program and give a 10-12 minute presentation.



The REU program pays a stipend for the eleven week period (a total of $7,749 in 2019). Interns will receive stipend payments on every other Friday.  Stipends for interns who are funded by sources other than REU may vary from this amount.



Candidates for the program:

  • Must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program (part-time or full-time) leading to a baccalaureate or associates degree. Students who are transferring from one institution to another (and have been accepted at the second institution) may participate. High school graduates who have not yet enrolled are not eligible. Students who have received their undergraduate degree (or will receive a degree before the program dates) and are no longer enrolled as undergraduates are not eligible for the REU program.
  • Must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.** NOTE: Due to grant restrictions, we are unable to fund interns who are not citizens or permanent residents.
  • Should be majoring in a plant science, a life science field, or a related field and have relevant coursework. Prior research experience is not required.
  • Must be able to work at least 40 hours per week for the entire eleven week term.
  • Students who have already participated in the program are not eligible to reapply. Those students are encouraged to work with their previous mentors regarding rehiring.

You must inform us if your eligibility status changes during the application or selection process. Your application will be withdrawn if your eligibility status changes. You may submit your application again as a new application (if positions are still available) once you meet the eligibility requirements. Your application will be considered "new" and previous offers/considerations will be void.