PREP@UC Berkeley Program

Research is at the core of PREP@UC Berkeley’s mission.

PREP@UC Berkeley offers students research excellence across the disciplines, a chance to work alongside world-class researchers, and access to state-of-the-art research centers and facilities. PREP@UC Berkeley faculty mentors have broad research interests in line with the NIGMS mission (e.g., understanding of the principles, mechanisms, and processes that underlie living organisms, often using research models), and have a demonstrated commitment to undergraduate and graduate education.

The majority of our PREP@UC Berkeley faculty are members of the UC Berkeley Department of Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB). The MCB Department consists of 92 labs and is divided into 5 divisions: the Divisions of Immunology & Pathogenesis (IMP), Neurobiology (Neuro), Cell & Developmental Biology (CDB), Biochemistry, Biophysics, & Structural Biology (BBS), and Genetics, Genomics & Development (GGD). Learn more about individual faculty research interests.

Early in the program year, PREP scholars will be paired with their research mentor. They will familiarize themselves with techniques in their mentors’ laboratory and assist with an existing project under the supervision of a faculty mentor and one of his/her senior graduate students or postdoctoral researchers. PREP scholars’ research will be integrated into funded studies and each student will work with his/her mentor to frame and design a research project to be carried out during the academic year to a mutually beneficial endpoint. Using tools, methods, and protocols specific to the questions being addressed, PREP scholars will have primary responsibility for day-to-day research tasks as well as intellectual input into experimental design and conclusions.

Scholars may also attend:

  • laboratory meetings,
  • seminars,
  • journal clubs,
  • retreats,
  • one national conference to be determined in collaboration with their mentor.

Professional Development Activities

  • Each PREP scholar will construct an Individual Development Plan (IDP) supported by their faculty mentor, PREP PI and program director, using the tools developed on campus by QB3-Berkeley.


  • Scholars will participate in tailored workshops that we are going to design specifically for the cohort and will be able to take into account scholar’s individual needs for training, such as, time management, an introduction to lab culture, how to keep a lab notebook, how to interview with faculty when selecting a lab, how to succeed in the research lab, and how scholars can make the most out of their PREP year.


  • Scholars will attend career-development workshops as part of the program. Professional development will be led by the Program Coordinator and guest speakers, focusing on core competencies for graduate students. We will feature topics such as Responsible Conduct of Research, Scientific Presentation, Networking, Scientific writing, How to build your resume, Stress Management, Personal branding, Negotiation, Scientific communication, Vocal coaching/body language for presentations, How to overcome imposter syndrome, Academic governance/structures and Design Thinking.


  • Mentoring: Quarterly, each PREP scholar will meet with a faculty adviser (an independent PREP faculty trainer) and PREP PIs. The goal of these meetings is to optimally support career development, discuss individual development plans and mentor scholars on how to best position him/herself for graduate school. They will help edit proposals, papers, suggest awards, and provide feedback on application documents and conduct mock interviews with the candidate. Discussions will also focus on how to be a role-model in their future graduate school.
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