Safety Commitee

Safety Committee

The College has an established safety committee consisting of the Dean or their representative, Chairs of each departmental safety committee or departmental nominee, and the Associate Director of Safety for the College. This committee is charged with communicating and ensuring compliance with University requirements and directives, serving as a resource to faculty, staff, and students, and developing plans and initiatives to meet requirements while promoting a culture of safety.

The committee has identified objectives to improve safety across the College during the 2020 and 2021 Academic years. Progress toward the objectives is measured through planning, discussion, and reports at committee meetings. Ideas for areas of improvement can be communicated through departmental safety committees or directly to a college safety committee member.

Current members

David Carrier

School of Biological Sciences

Charlie Jui

Physics and Astronomy

Peter Trapa

Dean, College of Science

Aaron Fogelson


Ryan Looper


Sarah Morris-Benavides

College of Science/EHS

Committee Resources


Michelle Williams, PhD’87

Michelle Williams

Michelle’s story sounds like it must have been deliberately calculated and executed. How else does someone go from Jamaica at an all-girls boarding school to college in New York City to graduate school at the University of Utah to Global Group President of Arkema, a billion-dollar subsidiary of Altuglas International? Turns out, Michelle had zero plans whatsoever to lead an international company along her career path. Instead, she thought she might like teaching. As she says, “Plan A never works out, and sometimes it’s Plan H or Plan G that finally works!”

She came to the University of Utah after breezing through college so much so that it was all a blur, and she found herself in Dr. David Grant’s research group at the age of 19. “I had no idea what I was getting into.” She, like most 19-year-olds, was looking for adventure and eagerly said goodbye to her teary-eyed mother at the airport. Michelle was checking off her adulting list: she rented an apartment--her ​own​ place; figured out her schedule; supported herself on her tiny teaching and research stipend; and she made her way, “I mucked my way through it.”

Michelle is emphatic that “this is where I grew up.” Only second to her decision to have children, coming to the University of Utah Chemistry Department was the best decision she ever made. Despite her overwhelm when she began her graduate research, she was quick and willing to ask for help, and she’s continued to do so throughout her entire career. “The reality is that I have always found that there are people who will help you. There are always people who see something in you.”

As she was completing her PhD research and dissertation defense, Michelle began casually interviewing with companies while she waited for her experiments to finish. She turned down a job offer from Dow Chemical though the interview was one of the most impactful conversations she would have about her career. The interviewer advised her, “young lady,” at which Michelle rolled her eyes, “you’re going to have opportunities and opportunities, and you need to find a company that has the right personality to match your personality.” She turned down the Dow Chemical position, and, instead, accepted a job at Rohm and Haas.

The job at Rohm and Haas was a continuation of the sense of community she had come to love at the University of Utah. It was a small enough, family-owned company where she could build relationships, and the focus was on learning, training, development and growing people. From a young age, Michelle has developed and followed her core values through every step of the way.

by Anne Vivienne

Frontiers of Science

Frontiers of Science

The 2020-2021 Frontiers of Science lectures are online only. Registration will be through the Alumni Association.

The Frontiers of Science lecture series was established in 1967 by University of Utah alumnus and Physics Professor Peter Gibbs. By 1970, the University had hosted 10 Nobel laureates for public Frontiers lectures. By 1993, when Gibbs retired, the Frontiers organizers had hosted another 20 laureates. Today, Frontiers of Science is the longest continuously-running lecture series at the University of Utah.

Thursday, October 22, 12-1 pm
Nature is the Future of Chemistry.

Shelley Minteer - Associate Chair of Chemistry Dept, University of Utah
Henry White - Distinguished Professor, Chemistry Dept, University of Utah
Scott Anderson - Distinguished Professor, Chemistry Dept, University of Utah

>> Watch the Video <<

The Center for Synthetic Organic Electrochemistry (CSOE) was recently awarded $20 million to advance its work to make synthetic organic electrochemistry mainstream. Join Peter Trapa, Dean of the College of Science, as he speaks with Dr. Shelley Minteer and her team on demystifying this process, and how its use will enable new green, safe, and economically beneficial new discoveries.

Dr. Shelley Minteer, professor of Analytical, biological & materials chemistry at the University of Utah, uses nature as an inspiration and solution to chemistry problems. Her group focuses on improving the abiotic-biotic interface between biocatalysts and electrode surfaces for enhanced bioelectrocatalysis and designs electrode structures for enhanced flux at electrode surfaces for biosensor and biofuel cell applications. In addition to holding the Dale and Susan Poulter Chair in Biological Chemistry, Dr. Minteer is the Director of the U’s Center for Synthetic Organic Electrochemistry which was just awarded a $20 Million NSF grant for the center’s Phase II development.

Thursday, November 19, 12-1 pm
The Future of Western Forests in a Changing Climate.

Bill Anderegg - Assistant Professor, School of Biological Sciences

>> Watch the Video <<

Climate change may dramatically reshape western landscapes and forests through heat, drought, fires, and beetles. What can science tell us about what the future looks like for western US forests and what we can do about it?

Assistant Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the U, Dr. William “Bill” Anderegg’s research centers on the intersection of ecosystems and climate change. In particular, he strives to understand the future of the Earth’s forests in a changing climate. Massive mortality events of many tree species in the last decade prompt concerns that drought, insects, and wildfire may devastate forests in the coming decades. Widely published, most recently in Science and PNAS, Anderegg studies how drought and climate change affect forest ecosystems, including tree physiology, species interactions, carbon cycling, and biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks. His work spans a broad array of spatial scales from xylem cells to ecosystems and seeks to gain a better mechanistic understanding of how climate change will affect forests around the world. Dr. Anderegg received his bachelor's and Ph.D. from Stanford University and did an NOAA Climate & Global change post-doctoral fellowship at Princeton.

Thursday, February 18, 12-1 pm
On Thinning Ice - Modeling sea ice in a warming climate.

Ken Golden - Department of Mathematics

>> Registration link coming soon <<

Precipitous declines of sea ice are writing a new narrative for the polar marine environment. Earth’s sea ice covers can tell us a lot about climate change—they are canaries in the coal mine. Predicting what may happen to sea ice and the ecosystems it supports over the next ten, fifty, or one hundred years requires extensive mathematical modeling of key physical and biological processes, and the role that sea ice plays in global climate. Ken Golden, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, will discuss his research, his Arctic and Antarctic adventures, and how mathematics is currently playing an important role in addressing these fundamental issues and will likely play an even greater role in the future.

Ken Golden is a Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and an Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah. His research is focused on developing mathematical models of sea ice which are inspired by theories of composite materials and statistical physics. He has traveled 18 times to the Arctic and Antarctic, and his work has been published in a wide range of scientific journals. Golden is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, an Inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and a Fellow of the Explorers Club, whose members have included Neil Armstrong, Sir Edmund Hillary, Robert Peary, and Jane Goodall.

Thursday, March 18, 12-1 pm
Not too big, Not too small: the hunt for intermediate mass black holes

Anil Seth - Department of Physics & Astronomy

>> Registration link coming soon <<

Astronomers have found lots of black holes with masses a few times that of the sun and hundreds of supermassive black holes with masses more than a million times the mass of the sun. But where are the ones in the middle—the intermediate mass black holes? Dr. Seth will talk about different ways we are hunting for intermediate mass black holes and why so many of us are interested in finding them.

Dr. Anil Seth, associate professor of Physics & Astronomy at the U, studies the formation and evolution of nearby galaxies by detecting individual stars and clusters of stars whose ages, composition, and motions can be measured. His research focuses on understanding the centers of galaxies and the black holes and massive star clusters found there. He also studies the large surveys of our nearest spiral neighbors, Andromeda and Triangulum, and is involved with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s APOGEE project. He was named a Presidential Scholar by the U and has been awarded several National Science Foundation grants.

All lectures are subject to change. Contact for questions or more information.



A Lecture Series Spanning Five Decades

The Frontiers of Science lecture series was established in 1967 by University of Utah alumnus and Physics Professor Peter Gibbs. Gibbs and his fellow physics faculty at the U sought to bring notable researchers from around the country to the University to discuss the current “frontiers” in physics research. The larger goal was to present public lectures that would attract attention to important developments in scientific research.

By 1970, the University had hosted 10 Nobel laureates for public Frontiers lectures. By 1993, when Gibbs retired, the Frontiers organizers had hosted another 20 laureates. Today, Frontiers of Science is the longest continuously-running lecture series at the University of Utah.

The first Frontiers event was presented by Peter Gibbs himself, who discussed “Einstein the Sociologist,” on April 1, 1967. Physics Professors David C. Evans, Grant R. Fowles and Jack W. Keuffel presented the remaining three lectures that year. In the meantime, the group worked on scheduling outstanding speakers for the following year.

Gibbs and colleagues made good on their promise to bring exceptional scientists to campus. During the 1968-69 academic year, eight lectures were held, including ones by C.N. Yang from the University of New York at Stony Brook (“Symmetry Principles in Physics”) and Murray Gell-Mann from the California Institute of Technology (“Elementary Particles”). Nobel laureates gave three of the eight presentations that academic year, and during 1969 as a whole, six of thirteen lectures were given by Nobel laureates. Topics included astronomy, mathematics, anthropology, politics and social issues.

Gibbs and the early FOS organizers were extremely adept at recruiting famous and soon-to-be-famous scientists. They also were keenly aware of the state of scientific research and the social climate of the time. President Nixon was in office, the Vietnam War was escalating and student protests were common on university campuses including the U of U. The United States had just put a man on the moon. Personal computers did not exist.

Through the 1970s as many as ten lectures were presented each academic year, but by 1980 the pace had slowed to a more manageable five or six per year. The FOS series had become immensely popular and the topics were broadened to include biology, chemistry, mathematics and the earth sciences.

In the early 1980s, FOS audiences were treated to firsthand accounts of the discovery of the structure of DNA by James D. Watson (“The Double Helix and Destiny,” 1981) and Francis H.C. Crick (“The Two DNA Revolutions,” 1984), the achievement for which they had received a Nobel Prize in 1962.

Many FOS speakers were not so famous or honored when they spoke here, but became so later in their career. For example, F. Sherwood Rowland spoke on “Man’s Threat to Stratospheric Ozone” in the 1978 academic year, and was a co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering studies on the destruction of ozone by chlorofluro- carbons which was his topic in 1978!

From 1994 to 1997, the Frontiers of Science series was complemented by the Davern/Gardner Laureateship. Dean T. Benny Rushing, Biology Professor K. Gordon Lark, and Emeritus Professor Boyer Jarvis wished to honor the memory of two former College of Science faculty members who made extraordinary administrative contributions to the University of Utah: Cedric “Ric” Davern and Pete D. Gardner.

Rushing, Lark and Jarvis secured a generous grant from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation to fund the Davern/Gardner Laureateship. The Laureateship allowed the College to bring a notable scientist to campus to deliver a public lecture and to interact with research teams and faculty that shared the invitee’s scientific interests. Dr. John Cairns gave the first lecture in November 1994. A total of six Davern/Gardner Laureateship lectures were presented until the grant was exhausted.

The history of venues for Frontiers of Science presentations is quite colorful. From 1967 to 1970, various rooms were used, including 103 North Physics, 200 Music Hall and Mark Greene Hall in the College of Business. By 1974, FOS events were often held in the Waldemer P. Read auditorium in Orson Spencer Hall. The Read auditorium featured stadium seating for about 400 people and was primarily used through the 1980s.

By 1990, the Fine Arts auditorium became the venue of choice because it was newer, larger, and had a better sound system. However, the lighting and sound controls were problematic and scheduling conflicts forced organizers to utilize the nearby Social Work auditorium on occasion.

In the meantime, the College of Science was constructing the Aline Wilmot Skaggs Biology Research Building (ASB) that included a beautiful 325-seat lecture auditorium and an adjoining 125-seat room complete with modern sound systems, digital video projectors and lighting. When ASB opened in 1997, the Frontiers series finally had a home within the College.

In 2003, the College of Mines and Earth Sciences joined with the College of Science to co-host FOS and increase the number of lectures devoted to aspects of geology, geophysics and meteorology. The effort was successful and a total of five presentations were scheduled, including Paul F. Hoffman, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, Harvard University (“Snowball Earth: Testing the Limits of Global Climate Change,” 2003) and Peter B. deMenocal, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University (“Climate Shifts and the Collapse of Ancient Cultures,” 2004).

In March 2007, Professor Kerry A. Emanuel of MIT discussed the history and science of hurricanes, including how climate change may be influencing storm cycles around the world. He used stunning photos and graphics to explain how hurricanes work, what determines their energy and destructiveness, and the economic and social implications of our policies for dealing with the risks they pose.

In 2008, The 14th Astronomer Royal of Great Britain, Sir Arnold Wolfendale, graced Utah audiences with a superb presentation on “Time: From Harrison’s Clocks to the Possibility of New Physics.” Other international guests were Dr. Jennifer Graves, Distinguished Professor at La Trobe University, Australia, and Dr. Stefan Hell, Nobel laureate and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany.

Peter Gibbs: The Father of “Frontiers”

Physics Professor Pete Gibbs and his colleagues established the Frontiers of Science lecture series as a method to bring notable researchers from around the world to Utah to discuss the current “frontiers” in scientific research. The first Frontiers event was presented by Pete Gibbs himself, on April 1, 1967. During the following two years, nine of the twenty-one FoS lectures were given by current or future Nobel laureates.

The early success of Frontiers was largely due to Pete’s personal invitations, and also his family’s skill at hosting prominent scientists in their home near the University campus. The Gibbs family offered lodging, food, and world-class skiing, to sweeten the deal.

Pete Gibbs passed away on July 13, 2019 surrounded by family and friends. He was 94.

Frontiers of Science, now in its 52nd year, continues to be sponsored by the College of Science and the College of Mines and Earth Sciences. The list of speakers now includes some 280 distinguished scientists.





Productivity Resources

Productivity resources

Stay safe. stay healthy. Stay connected.

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll across university campuses. Below are some tips to help manage stress and focus on staying productive while working remotely.

  1. Take care of yourself. 
  2. Learn a new skill or technique: Invest time in broadening your research focus.
  3. Revisit a long forgotten project: Do you have publishable results that have been on the shelf?
  4. Promote your work online: Update your website or FAR.
  5. Create a graphical abstract of your research: Use this on your website; share it with your departments’ development team.
  6. Apply for funding: Check out the Faculty Funding Opportunities emails from the CoS.  
  7. Think about your career plans: Write a plan for yourself.
  8. Conduct informational interviews: Meet on Zoom to brainstorm about new research directions.
  9. Be nice to your fellow humans: Check in with your research group and colleagues.  Offer encouragement and celebrate accomplishments.
  10. Do fun stuff: Fun projects, fun brainstorming, add fun to your personal life (while staying safe, of course)!

*Adapted from AAAS: Advice for working from home during COVID-19 (Bodewits, 2020).

  • Three questions to ask yourself each day:
    • What choices am I making about the things I have control over?  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider what choices you can make about the information you receive and whether that information is serving you well.
    • What do I need, physically, intellectually, emotionally?  Do this at the beginning of the day. Use this self-dialog to build your schedule.
    • What is good right now?  Identifying positive things helps control fear and panic, allowing you to better focus on the tasks at hand. 
  • NCFDD Resources: COVID-19
  • Core Curriculum  Note that for each webinar, you can navigate to the “Resources” tab, where you will find a summary and discussion questions.  Some webinars also feature templates and examples for further reading.

*Adapted from the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). The UofU is an NCFDD institutional member, so access to these resources is free.  To create your account, choose “Become a member” in the upper right corner of the page, and choose our institution from the drop down menu.  Then “Activate your membership” to create your own account using your email address.



Course Registration Drop-In Hours

Course Registration Drop-In Hours

If you would like help with your course registration, stop by our drop-in hours and receive one-on-one support from one of our student ambassadors. During one of our drop-in sessions (schedule below), join the lobby below and an ambassador will assist you with your registration.



Drop-In Schedule

All times listed in MST

Transfer Orientation #4 / First Year Orientation #2: January 11-15

Wednesday, January 13

8:00 - 10:00 AM

2:00 - 4:00 PM

Thursday, January 14

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

3:00 - 5:00 PM

Friday, January 15

9:00 - 11:00 AM

1:00 - 3:00 PM


If none of these timeslots work for you and you need help with your course registration, please email

Next-Gen Astronomy


Gail Zasowski

Next-gen astronomical survey makes its first observations.

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s fifth generation collected its very first observations of the cosmos at 1:47 a.m. on October 24, 2020. As the world’s first all-sky time-domain spectroscopic survey, SDSS-V will provide groundbreaking insight into the formation and evolution of galaxies—like our own Milky Way—and of the supermassive black holes that lurk at their centers.

Funded primarily by member institutions, along with grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. National Science Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation, SDSS-V will focus on three primary areas of investigation, each exploring different aspects of the cosmos using different spectroscopic tools. Together these three project pillars—called “Mappers”—will observe more than six million objects in the sky, and monitor changes in more than a million of those objects over time.

The survey’s Local Volume Mapper will enhance our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution by probing the interactions between the stars that make up galaxies and the interstellar gas and dust that is dispersed between them. The Milky Way Mapper will reveal the physics of stars in our Milky Way, the diverse architectures of its star and planetary systems, and the chemical enrichment of our galaxy since the early universe. The Black Hole Mapper will measure masses and growth over cosmic time of the supermassive black holes that reside in the hearts of galaxies, and of the smaller black holes left behind when stars die.

“We are thrilled to start taking the first data for two of our three Mappers,” added SDSS-V spokesperson Gail Zasowski, an assistant professor in the University of Utah’s Department of Physics & Astronomy. “These early observations are already important for a wide range of science goals. Even these first targets provide data for studies ranging from mapping the inner regions of supermassive black holes and searching for exotic multiple-black hole systems, to studying nearby stars and their dead cores, to tracing the chemistry of potential planet-hosting stars across the Milky Way.”

A sampling of data from the first SDSS-V observations. Center: The telescope’s field-of-view, with the full Moon shown for scale. SDSS-V simultaneously observes 500 targets at a time within a circle of this size. Left: the optical-light spectrum of a quasar, a supermassive black hole at the center of a distant galaxy, which is surrounded by a disk of hot, glowing gas. The purple blob is an SDSS image of the light from this disk, the width of a human hair as seen from about 21 meters (63 feet) away. Right: The image and spectrum of a white dwarf –the left-behind core of a low-mass star (like the Sun) after the end of its life.

The newly-launched SDSS-V will continue the path-breaking tradition set by the survey’s previous generations, with a focus on the ever-changing night sky and the physical processes that drive these changes, from flickers and flares of supermassive black holes to the back-and-forth shifts of stars being orbited by distant worlds. SDSS-V will provide the spectroscopic backbone needed to achieve the full science potential of satellites like NASA’s TESS, ESA’s Gaia, and the latest all-sky X-ray mission, eROSITA.

As an international consortium, SDSS has always relied heavily on phone and digital communication. But adapting to exclusively virtual communication tactics since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge, along with tracking global supply chains and laboratory availability at various university partners as they shifted in and out of lockdown during the final ramp-up to the survey’s start. Particularly inspiring were the project’s expert observing staff, who worked in even-greater-than-usual isolation to shut down, and then reopen, the survey’s mountain-top observatories.

“In a year when humanity has been challenged across the globe, I am so proud of the worldwide SDSS team for demonstrating—every day—the very best of human creativity, ingenuity, improvisation, and resilience.” said SDSS-V director Juna Kollmeier, of the Carnegie Observatories. “It has been a challenging period for SDSS and the world, but I’m happy to report that the pandemic may have slowed us, but it has not stopped us.”

Anil Seth

The University of Utah will actually operate as the data reduction center for SDSS-V, supported by the U’s Center for High Performance Computing. Joel Brownstein, a research associate professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, is the head of data management and archiving for SDSS-V. “As we see the first observations streaming to Utah from the mountain observatories, we are just starting to grasp the amazing potential of this ambitious data set. We are fully and proudly committed to making our results more accessible to the larger community by introducing new tools that enable a dynamic, user-driven experience.”

SDSS-V will operate out of both Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, home of the survey’s original 2.5-meter telescope, and Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, where it uses the 2.5-meter du Pont telescope.

SDSS-V’s first observations were taken in New Mexico with existing SDSS instruments, in a necessary change of plans due to the pandemic. As laboratories and workshops around the world navigate safe reopening, SDSS-V’s own suite of new innovative hardware is on the horizon—in particular, systems of automated robots to aim the fiber optic cables used to collect the light from the night sky. These robots will be installed at both observatories over the next year. New spectrographs and telescopes are also being constructed to enable the Local Volume Mapper observations.

Dr. Anil Seth, the University of Utah’s representative on the Advisory Council that oversees SDSS’s operations, highlighted the impact of the project’s open data policies and worldwide collaboration. “SDSS’s 20-year legacy has touched nearly every astronomer in the world by this point. It has become the go-to reference for astronomy textbooks on galaxies, made the most precise measurements of how our Universe is expanding, and showed us how powerful shared data can be. I look forward to see what new results SDSS V will reveal!”

For more information, please see the SDSS-V’s website at

Adapted from a release by the Carnegie Observatories. Also published in @theU

October Update


October Update

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The College of Science supports the U's efforts to make our campus community safer for all. The Center for Student Wellness has numerous opportunities for students to learn more about preventing and helping those affected by interpersonal violence.

Goldwater Scholarship

The Goldwater Foundation awards $7,500 scholarships to outstanding undergraduate students. The University of Utah internal deadline to apply is November 23, 2020.

Frontiers of Science

Nature is the Future of Chemistry - Dean Peter Trapa speaks with Dr. Shelley Minteer and the team at the Center for Synthetic Organic Electrochemistry. The group was recently awarded $20 million to make synthetic organic electrochemistry mainstream–demystifying the process, and demonstrating how it enables green, safe, and economically beneficial discoveries.  Watch the video.

Graduating this Spring?

Are you planning to graduate this spring? Make an appointment with your academic advisor before registering for spring semester to make sure you are on track. We encourage you to apply for graduation early using the “Graduation” tile in CIS.


Please subscribe to our email list.

Science Research Initiative

Learn By Doing in the sri

Interested in Science and Mathematics? Want to learn how to do research and become a scientist? Seeking to connect with exciting career opportunities as a first-year or transfer student?  This is what the Science Research Initiative (SRI) is all about.

SRI aims to offer every incoming College of Science student the opportunity to participate in discovery-based scientific research. First- and second-year students tackle cutting-edge problems in dedicated research streams sponsored by local industries. Transfer students are also eligible to apply.

Step into the unknown to tackle big, open-ended questions. Learn by doing.  Experience the excitement of Science and Mathematics. Find out more below, or email us for more information.



The SRI is a program for first- and second-year students that enables them to start working in an SRI stream, or research experience, at the beginning of their journey at the University of Utah. This program assumes incoming students will not have any college-level research experience; instead, you will learn alongside your fellow students to gain research skills, technical experience, and the unique opportunity to learn from faculty.

Getting research experience early in your college career is one of the most effective ways to put you on the path of employment in the STEM economy. Whether your goal is to go to graduate or professional school, or begin working upon graduation, participation in the SRI will open doors for your future success. You'll gain practical experience, connect with faculty and researchers that can help you, and explore career paths early in your college experience. Utah's STEM economy is predicted to grow significantly in the coming decades, and the SRI will prepare you to be on the forefront of that growth.

Unlike other research programs, you are not required to have any experience in the lab in order to qualify. All the skills you will need to be successful will be integrated into your training. However, you are encouraged to take science and math courses in high school to prepare you for your degree in the College of Science.

Yes, the SRI is a program specifically designed for College of Science students. First-year students are encouraged to declare their intended major as soon as possible. Your advisor can help you determine which major will be suit your interests and goals.

The College understands that goals and interests of our students may change during your time at the University of Utah. If your academic goals change, your advisor can help you find the path that is right for you.

SRI staff will work with you to find a stream that interests you. You will have the ability to rank your preferences based on stream availability. You will be asked to commit to your SRI stream for a year; however, if there are extenuating circumstances and you need to change your plans, speak to your stream leader ASAP.

Check out all currently running streams below. New opportunities will be available each semester. If you have a particular interest in your major, talk to the SRI Director on which stream may be best for you.

You can apply as soon as you receive your acceptance to the University of Utah, or when scholarships for the next academic year open (December 1st for the 2021-2022 academic year).

The SRI application uses the same platform as all University scholarships. You can apply using the link below. To apply, you will need:

  • Acceptance to the University of Utah
  • Plan to declare a major in the College of Science
  • First- or second-year status, or a transfer student

SRI students are expected to participate in the following:

  • Enroll in SCI 1500, a 1-credit class that will cover research practices, scientific inquiry, and other topics that will help you be successful.
  • Commit to 10 hours of work per week in your research stream.
  • Participate in an end-of-year research symposium to highlight your research and hear what your peers have accomplished.



SRI Research Streams


Molecular Architectures


Biological Invaders

Neural Networks

Cellular Biology

Electrosynthetic Chemistry


Doon Gibbs, BS’63

Doon Gibbs is currently the Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. Brookhaven is a multi-program U.S. Department of Energy laboratory with nearly 3,000 employees, more than 4,000 facility users each year, and an annual budget of about $600 million.

Brookhaven Lab’s largest facilities include the National Synchrotron Light Source II, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials – some of the finest research instruments in the world.

Doon was born in Illinois, where his father was a post doc, but grew up in Salt Lake City near the University of Utah. His father, Peter Gibbs, was a prominent physics professor at the U, and his mother, Miriam, was a school teacher at Wasatch Elementary in the Avenues district. The family home was just off First Avenue and Virginia Street, only a few blocks from campus.

Doon and his younger siblings, Victoria and Nicholas, attended East High School. Upon graduation, Doon moved to Portland to attend Reed College, a private liberal arts school. After two years, he returned to Utah and enrolled at the U. He worked on campus as a writer and reporter with The Daily Utah Chronicle, the University’s student newspaper.

“I tried just about everything else except physics in school,” says Gibbs. “But, there was one physics course that sounded intriguing. It was Gale Dick’s entry-level class, ‘Physics for Poets.’ I signed up for summer semester 1974. Despite my best efforts to not do exactly what my dad did, I found that physics was totally compelling.”

Additional physics and math classes soon followed. He changed his major to Mathematics in 1975, added a Physics major in 1976 and graduated with both degrees in 1977. He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

Although his father was a well known professor of physics at the U, and chairman of the department from 1967-1976, Doon didn’t take a single class from his dad.

“Well, I got physics lessons from my dad every day, but it was usually at home on the front porch or in the kitchen,” says Gibbs. “I didn’t get any college credit.” He chuckles.

Doon pursued a Master’s degree in physics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, ironically, the same school at which his father had been a post doc. He stayed at Illinois to complete a doctorate degree in condensed matter physics in 1982 – the same field as his dad, although Doon is an experimenter and his father is a theorist. During this time, his research interests focused on the utilization of synchrotron radiation to perform spectroscopy of surfaces.

After graduate school, Doon found an entry-level job as an assistant physicist. The place was Brookhaven National Laboratory. The year was 1983.

At Brookhaven, he specialized in condensed matter physics and X-ray magnetic scattering and was promoted to a senior physicist in 2000.

In 2003, Gibbs was honored with the Advanced Photon Source Arthur H. Compton Award “for pioneering theoretical and experimental work in resonant X-ray magnetic scattering, which has led to many important applications in condensed matter physics.”

He was named Deputy Laboratory Director for Science and Technology in 2007.

By 2010, Gibbs’ management experiences at Brookhaven included the positions of Group Leader of X-ray Scattering, Associate and Deputy Chair of Physics, Head of Condensed Matter Physics, Interim Director of the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, and Associate Laboratory Director for Basic Energy Sciences.

“A science background is a great preparation for an increasingly complex world. The ability to analyze and creatively solve complicated problems is a wonderful advantage,” says Gibbs.

Gibbs was instrumental in overseeing the design and construction of Brookhaven’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials, and has played a significant role in advancing other major Lab projects including the National Synchrotron Light Source II and the Interdisciplinary Science Building. He has also overseen the growth of Brookhaven’s basic energy sciences programs in chemistry, materials science, nanoscience, and condensed matter physics.

“Brookhaven is moving in new and exciting directions,” says Gibbs. “In the next decade, we hope to expand our nuclear and particle physics efforts to build a next-generation electron-ion collider, among other projects. In general, national labs develop and use science and technology to address critical issues such as energy security, national and nuclear security and environmental clean-up.”

Doon met his wife, Teri Barbero, on a blind date in New York City. “We went to a cool Indian restaurant in midtown,” recalls Gibbs. “We were inseparable after that, and were married about a year later.”

The couple lives in Setauket, New York. They have two sons, Theo, 20, and Alex, 18. The family enjoys skiing, soccer, and backyard barbecues.

Doon visits Utah on occasion to visit friends and family. His father is always ready with a physics lesson for the youngster.