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Microbial Friends & Foes application


Applying to the Microbial Friends & Foes REU program is a two step process. It requires: (i) submitting an application package (all done through this page), and (ii) requesting one letter of recommendation to be submitted on your behalf by February 8. Acceptance notifications will be issued by April 2024. The program runs from June 10 to August 9, 2024. Current Cornell students interested in summer research: please consider CIHMID’s Undergraduate Research Experience, Cornell’s sister program to MFF.

Accepted applicants will receive:

  • $700/week ($6,300 total) stipend
  • on-campus housing
  • meal allowance
  • travel subsidy

*Accepted applicants must be available to participate in the entirety of the MFF REU program from June 10, 2024 to August 9, 2024, and MUST be an undergraduate at the time they attend (graduating seniors are ineligible). If you anticipate a conflict, please CONTACT US

Summer Research Themes

The Microbial Friends & Foes Research Experience for Undergraduates program provides training in the concepts and experimental approaches central to understanding microbial interactions with eukaryotic hosts. Students work with faculty mentors in the Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease (CIHMID).  A common theme among research programs in CIHMID is investigation of interspecific interactions, both mutualistic and antagonistic.

Application package

1. Prepare the following items, and information:

  • Identify three research themes that interest you most from the following general areas:
    • Immunology
    • Microbiomes
    • Plants
    • Agricultural research
    • Ecology and Evolution
    • Symbiosis and Species Interactions
    • Infectious Disease
    • Genetics
    • To view host labs, select Potential MFF (REU) Host on our CIHMID Faculty page. (Be sure to click through all results pages.)
  • Prepare a personal statement describing your research interests, relevant coursework, prior research experience (if any), and how participation in the Microbial Friends & Foes REU program fits into your future academic and professional plans (1000 words). Note: No prior research experience is needed for the program.
  • Obtain a copy of your academic transcript (unofficial copy is acceptable).

2. Submit your application materials via the web portal below. The application portal will close at the end of day on February 1, 2024, and letters of recommendation must be received no later than February 8, 2024. Materials received after the deadline will not be considered.

  • You must attach your transcript to your application; it will not be considered otherwise.
  • Only submit one application; subsequent submissions will not be considered.
  • Check spam/junk folders if you have applied, but not received a confirmation email.


Letters of recommendation

Identify ONE professor or other individual who can comment on your aptitude for participating in the Microbial Friends & Foes REU program. An email will be sent to your recommender when you submit your application, directing them to upload their letter to our recommenders’ portal by February 8, 2024. All technical questions should be directed to Railey Jane Savage at

*NOTE: Applicant will NOT receive notification that their letter has been uploaded. If a letter has not been uploaded by February 7, 2024, applicant will receive an email to remind their recommender. 


Summer 2024 REU Application

Thank you for your interest, the Microbial Friends & Foes Program application portal will be open from December 1, 2023, through February 1, 2024.