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IRES: Summer Biology Research Program in Japan (2021)

The group will take part in the program from May 17 to July 23 researching Novel Genetic Elements Regulating Behavior of Medaka and Zebrafish

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city in Japan

2022 Program Information

This grant-funded research program allows students to engage in scientific collaborations at top biology institutes in Japan.

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF Project #1952513), this 10-week summer program will provide students with invaluable research and intercultural experiences while working with an international team of biologists on CRISPR-Cas9 techniques generating transgenic fish to study genetic elements regulating behavior. The program consists of full-time research in a Japanese laboratory, mentored by a faculty member from the Japanese institution. The competitive fellowship is open to Montclair State University and non-Montclair State University advanced undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in state-of-the-art gene editing molecular biology techniques.

After a one-week online orientation, the six students will spend one week in Nagoya for on-site orientation and then eight weeks at one of the following sites:

  • The National Institute of Genetics (Mishima, Japan)
  • The Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules at Nagoya University (Nagoya, Japan)
  • The National Institute of Basic Biology (Okazaki, Japan)

Students at all three sites will work on related projects, with the intent of publishing a joint study.

Fellowship Details

This is a National Science Foundation funded program. Each participant will receive a $5000 stipend for the 10-week program. Other expenses associated with participation are covered by the NSF.

What is covered (in ADDITION to the $5,000 stipend)

  • Roundtrip airfare between a U.S. airport and Nagoya, Japan
  • Ground transportation between Nagoya airport and site
  • Ground transportation between your research site and Nagoya, as necessary
  • Housing during the program in Japan (May 21–July 23, 2021)
  • Laboratory supplies

What is NOT covered

  • Passport fees
  • Ground transportation to/from US airport
  • Meals
  • Ground transportation not related to program
  • Other personal expenses
  • Health insurance

To Apply

Applicants must submit all required application materials by January 15, 2021 11:59pm EST.

Applications will be accepted from October 26, 2020 to January 15, 2021 and should be submitted online through IRES Summer Biology Research Program in Japan

The online application requirements include an unofficial transcript and two letters of recommendation from faculty members. The program will also run in Summer 2022 and Summer 2023. Application periods for those years will be announced at a later date.


  • Application deadline: January 15, 2021 11:59pm EST
  • Interview of finalists: Early February
  • Final selection of participants and alternates: Late February

Program Dates

  • May 17-May 20: Online pre-departure introduction (in the U.S.)
  • May 21: Students depart for Japan
  • May 24-27: Introduction to laboratory techniques at Nagoya University
  • May 31-July 22: Eight week program
  • July 23: Return to US


  • Applicants must be enrolled in good standing in a degree program at a U.S. Institution of higher education with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and minimum GPA of 3.0 in science courses.
  • Graduate students (Masters or PhD) and upper-level undergraduate students in sciences are eligible to apply: Bachelor’s level applicants must have completed their sophomore year by the start of the program and students planning to graduate in Spring 2021 must be accepted to a graduate school program in science for Fall 2021 by time of program.
  • Applicants are expected to have taken a molecular and cellular biology course or equivalent by time of application and have basic knowledge of molecular laboratory techniques.
  • Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident (as per NSF requirements) and must have a passport valid through February 2022 (six months past program end) at time of selection.
  • Students from groups that are typically underrepresented in STEM are encouraged to apply.

**Acceptance into the program is competitive. A total of 6 participants will be selected, with alternates. The members of the “NSF IRES-US Japan Collaboration” program committee are responsible for all final decisions.

Faculty Leaders

Dr. Carlos A. Molina is a professor of molecular biology at Montclair State University. His laboratory works in post-translational regulation of transcription factors and the reproductive system of vertebrates using fish and mice as model organisms.

Dr. Mika Munakata is a professor in the Department of Mathematics at Montclair State University. She does research in STEM education, undergraduate education, and professional development. She will be co-directing and leading the educational, language and cultural components of the program.