How To Find A Research Lab To Work In


(ANA 394, BIO 394 or PSY 393)


The neuroscience major requires a student to complete 6 hours of independent research in the laboratory of a neuroscientist.  Doing research presents an outstanding opportunity for students to expand their horizons and deepen appreciation of contemporary neurobiology, whatever their career goals. The research requirement should normally be fulfilled by taking 3 credits of either ANA 394, BIO 394 or PSY 393 for 2 subsequent semesters.  Enrollment in one of these courses is optimally done after the student has completed Introduction to Neuroscience Techniques (BIO 305).  The research requirement should typically be fulfilled in either the junior and/or senior year of the student. 

  Neuroscience minors may also decide to take ANA 394, BIO 394 or PSY 393.  Up to six credits of independent research may be used as elective credit counted towards your minor.

Student instructions

   It is best to obtain a commitment from a research mentor to take you into their laboratory to conduct an independent research project the semester before you wish to begin that project.  This is because mentors only have a limited number of spaces available in their labs and they can fill up.  If you wait too long to arrange your research project, you might not get into one of your top choices.

For those signing up for ANA 394, BIO 394 or PSY 393 for the first time:

1.   You must first identify some potential neuroscience faculty members whose research interests you.  Many possible mentors, with their department affiliations and areas of research, can be found at:

Please note that this list is not exhaustive.  Any faculty member conducting neuroscience research may be considered. You should also be sure to look at the research web pages of anyone who interests you.

2. Contact your list of potential mentors to determine if they are accepting independent research students and if you are eligible to join their lab.  You should tell them something about yourself, e.g. what courses you have completed, why you are interested in their area of research, your time commitment, etc.

3. Set up a meeting with the faculty member to discuss potential projects. You should go to this appointment like a job interview, prepared to sell yourself a bit as to your interest, motivation and knowledge of the lab's research question.  Please remember that the number of spots available in any one lab for undergraduates is limited and do not be discouraged if a faculty member is not able to offer you one.

4. If you are offered a spot in the lab and wish to take it, you must fill out a research contract in consultation with your mentor and file it with that department (i.e. normally you would fill out a contract for BIO 394 if your mentor was in the Biology Department, for ANA 394 if your mentor was in the Neuroscience (formerly Anatomy and Neurobiology) department, etc.  The contracts can be found here:

ANA-394 Research

BIO-394 Research

PSY-393 Research

5. Have your mentor review your project description and complete their section before contract submission (see below).   

For those continuing ANA 394, BIO 394 or PSY 393 from a previous semester:

1. Please fill out and submit a new contract updating your project description with any results you obtained the previous semester. Be sure to highlight any changes in the project as you answer the project description questions.

Submission of contracts

1.   Students should submit completed contracts NO LATER THAN NOON on the day immediately prior to the add/drop date.  This deadline is necessary to allow time for contract approval and processing.  Return:

ANA 394 contracts to MS209 Medical Science Building

BIO 394 contracts to 101 Morgan

PSY 393 contracts to 106B Kastle Hall.

2.      You will receive email confirmation and instructions for registration if your project is approved. At that time, you will need to register for the course in myUK. If the contract is not approved, we will contact you or your research mentor.  You cannot sign up for a research course if you do not have an approved research contract on file.


Research Opportunities for Freshmen and Sophomores

  •   BIO 199 is designed to provide beginning students an opportunity to participate in research projects and to gain research experience in biology while working with faculty members in the Biology department or other life sciences departments such as those in the colleges of medicine, dentistry, agriculture, engineering, and pharmacy, as well as departments in A&S such as chemistry and psychology. It is the responsibility of the student to contact a faculty member and arrange the conditions of the research project. Prior to beginning work, a BIO 199 Research Contract must be completed, signed by the student and the mentor, and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Biology.  BIO 199 is designed to allow students to begin research early in their academic careers and to enjoy the benefits of this experience in preparation for more-advanced research work later in BIO 395. As this experience is viewed as part of the learning process leading to later independent work, carries only 0 to 1 hours of academic credit.
  • The UK-Undergraduate Research Program facilitates entry of new students into research labs and offers opportunities for seminars and discussions among participating students. UK-URP is an excellent way to get into basic research nearly as soon as you arrive on campus.
  • If you would like to nominate your faculty research mentor for recognition, please visit

If additional information is needed about any of these opportunities, please contact Dr. Robin Cooper, Neuroscience Director of Undergraduate Studies  (859) 257-5950.

Enter your linkblue username.
Enter your linkblue password.
Secure Login

This login is SSL protected