Laboratory Research Experience Program

Experience Cutting Edge Research at UC Berkeley


Six-Week Intensive Laboratory Research Experience

July 2 - August 10, 2018 at UC Berkeley

Registration for Summer 2018 Program will Open on September 1, 2017.

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 BERS: 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.


Program Brochure (PDF, Click Here)


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.

LRE 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

This summer I was fortunate to be chosen to be part of the LRE program at UC Berkeley. The mixture of welcoming environment, great weather, and open access to amazing mentors and faculty in the college of chemistry, produced the ideal platform for young scholars to thrive. The program provided us with a comprehensive and unique experience to grow and expand our knowledge of chemistry, inside and outside of the lab. Not only did we have the opportunity of working with and meeting exceptional colleagues from around the world, but we also were exposed to weekly inspirational, informative, and contemporary faculty seminars. As an emerging chemist, I came to the program with basic and modest knowledge of MOFs. I am now returning home with strong fundamentals about MOFs and COFs equipped with copious amounts of new skills and techniques to succeed in this subject and beyond.

- Ammar AlMousa, LRE Emerging Scholar, 2017

Laboratory Research Experience Curriculum

Week 1: Synthesis, Characterization, and Post-Synthetic Modification of Metal-Organic Frameworks
  • Synthesis of metal-organic frameworks
  • Hands-on use of powder X-ray diffraction, gas adsorption, and thermal gravimetric analysis characterization techniques
  • "Crystals as molecules": hands-on use of nuclear magnetic resonance characterization techniques
Week 2: Morphological Control of Ag Nanoparticles: Synthesis and Applications
  • Nanofabrication techniques
  • Electron microscopy characterization (SEM and TEM)
  • Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy
  • Fluorescence spectroscopy
Week 3: Chemistry and Reactivity of Transition Metal Complexes
  • Ligand design through salt metathesis and the template effect
  • Coordination compound chemistry
  • Homogeneous catalysis
Week 4: Synthesis, Characterization, and Gas Adsorption Properties of Covalent Organic Frameworks
  • Advanced synthetic techniques for realizing covalent organic frameworks
  • Computational modeling and simulation techniques coupled with powder X-ray diffraction analysis
  • Advanced gas adsorption measurements and analysis
Week 5: Superacidity in Porous Materials: Applications toward Heterogeneous Catalysis
  • Superacidity and acid-base chemistry
  • Hammett indicator analysis
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
Week 6: Science Communication
  • Keys to success in publishing high impact scientific results
  • How to effectively communicate your results via oral and poster presentations
  • BERS Symposium

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. scholars.
  • Opportunity to present your research to the entire College of Chemistry at the culmination of the program.
  • Tours of various laboratories as well as the UC Berkeley campus.

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.


Contact us! Please send us an email ( or if you have any questions about the program or if you need any assistance with the application.

It was fabulous that there were so many intellectual people and great ideas that I’m excited about. LRE provided great opportunities for me to interact with and learn from the world’s best scientists at UC Berkeley. It enabled me to discover myself, think independently, and develop a clearer picture of my future scientific career. The people I met and the experiences I had made me realize that science can be charming and amazing.

- Xueying Chang, LRE Emerging Scholar, 2017