Research Courses

Opportunities for 1st- and 2nd-year Yale undergraduates to get involved in STEM research  (*no prior research experience required)

Check out the course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) available in the 2018-2019 school year!

Discovery and Design in Biomedical Research 

[Offered: Fall 2018]

Course instructor: Dr. Jay Humphrey (

Course description: This course will introduce a clinical dilemma, that is, a medical or surgical need, and help students to learn how to work together effectively to identify a solution that stems from a multi-disciplinary approach. Toward this end, we will focus on precision regenerative medicine as an illustrative area of study for it involves aspects of bioengineering, materials science, immunobiology, mechanobiology, computational modeling, and experimental design. We will also advance to hands-on fabrication and materials testing (i.e., data collection and analysis). To focus our study, we will consider in detail the design of a drug-eluting, tissue engineered vascular conduit for surgical treatment of a congenital heart defect that is diagnosed and treated in early childhood. This topic also offers the opportunity to understand contributions from diverse areas of clinical collaboration, including surgery and cardiology. Because the solution is open-ended it will enable a true classroom directed research experience. Although focused on a single clinical need, all of the methods learned will be generally applicable to a host of clinical needs.

Exploring the Microbial World 

[Offered: Fall 2018]

Course instructor: Dr. Iain Dawson (

Course description: This laboratory will introduce beginning undergraduate students to STEM research, through an immersive experience in a real-world research project. Students will work with the common soil bacterium. Bacillus mycoides. B. mycoides has a unique filamentous and spiraling growth pattern and individual B. mycoides isolates display either clockwise or counter-clockwise chirality. Students will isolate their own B. mycoides strains and characterize their growth patterns under different conditions. Additionally, students will work on developing methods and tools for future research, such as ways to isolate individual cells and constructing fluorescently tagged lines to study cell and filament growth. Coursework will focus on developing student skill sets in microbial laboratory practice and developing critical thinking through legitimate participation in, and importantly designing, an ongoing laboratory investigation.

Hormones and Behavior 

[Offered: Spring 2019]

Course instructors: Dr. Claudia Valeggia ( and Dr. Margaret Corley (

Course description: This is a laboratory-based course designed for freshmen and sophomore students. It focuses on the interaction between hormones and behavior from an evolutionary and developmental perspective. From the start of the semester, you will begin to gain competency in basic laboratory techniques (pipetting, diluting, aliquotting, etc.) in a laboratory section. During the first five weeks of the course, you will also be introduced to the interactions between hormones and behavior, drawing from literature both on human and non-human primates in a seminar section. You will learn about research design and the scientific method by reading and discussing primary scientific literature. During the last 6 weeks of the course, students will work together (in groups of 2 or 3) to design and carry out a small research project related to hormones and behavior and will present your findings in a final group presentation. One goal of this course is to get individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM involved in scientific research at Yale. No prior laboratory experience is required and underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply.

Introduction to Experimental Archaeology 

[Offered: Spring 2019]

Course instructors: Dr. Ellery Frahm ( and Dr. Roderick McIntosh (

Course description: Experimental archaeology lies at the intersection of anthropological archaeology, STEM, and the television show “Mythbusters." Through the replication of ancient technologies, we can test models that explain the dynamic behavioral and natural processes which led to the formation of the archaeological record. Students explore the elements of good experimental design, procedure, and assessment by carrying out research of their own designs and working together in peer groups, resulting in an in-class presentation, scientific poster, and project portfolio.

Self-Driving Cars: Theory and Practice 

[Offered: Spring 2019]

Course instructor: Dr. Man-Ki Yoon (

Course description: This course will explore the theory and practice of building self-driving cars using advanced computing technologies. The topics range from embedded system programming, sensor fusion, and control theory to the basics of planning and routing algorithms as well as machine learning with computer vision. Over the course of the semester, students will design and implement miniaturized self-driving cars that will autonomously navigate through an indoor track, ending with an autonomous racing competition and a project report/poster of their work. 

Virus Discovery and Evolution 

[Offered: Spring 2019]

Course instructor: Dr. Alita Burmeister (

Course description: An introduction to empirical research with a hybrid between lab exercises and mentored research on bacteriophage, which are viruses that infect bacteria. A general goal of this course is for each student to decide whether they want to continue with undergraduate research. Specific learning objectives and assessments focus on experimental design, hypothesis testing, data analysis, and presentation. Students will practice these skills and conduct independent research projects. Students will gain basic experience with methods and principles from microbiology, genetics, ecology, and evolutionary biology.