Beckman Scholars

Application Deadline: February 16, 2018, 5:00 p.m.

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation is an independent, non-profit Foundation originally established in September 1977 for the purpose of supporting basic scientific research, primarily in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry and medicine. In 1997, the Beckman Foundation initiated the Beckman Scholars Program, which recognizes outstanding undergraduate students in chemistry, biochemistry, biological and medical sciences research at select universities and colleges throughout the United States. UC Davis held a Beckman Scholar’s Program from 2012-2015 and was selected as one of 12 universities to receive the prestigious 2016-2019 Beckman Scholar's Program Award. 

Scholars Program

The purpose of the Beckman Scholars Program is to help stimulate, encourage and support research activities by exceptionally talented, full-timed undergraduate students who have the potential to be outstanding leaders of the next generation of researchers. The scholars can choose to work with any of the 14 faculty mentors. These research activities shall be centered on research at the interface of chemistry, engineering and the biological and medical sciences.  Additionally, the research projects will have a clear application to a global and/or medical health need. 

The research will be performed part-time (ten hours per week) during one academic year and full-time over two summers, immediately before and after the academic year research experience. Scholars must be available and commit to the entire time period to be eligible to receive an award. Once selected to be a Beckman Scholar, a student will retain the funding as long as he/she continues to excel academically, is in good academic standing, and his/her research work shows satisfactory progress.

Total award per student is $21,000 for stipend and expenses as shown below.  Each matched faculty mentor will receive an additional $5,000 stipend for travel, supplies, and fees related to the scholar’s research. 

Summer 1
Academic Year
Summer 2
Travel and Supplies


Faculty Mentor
Travel, supplies, fees
related to scholar's 
= $5,000

Faculty Mentors

The Beckman Scholars Program is strictly limited to the following Mentors. Each Mentor has specified their research area as listed below, along with a global/medical health application in which the selected Scholar’s research will address.  Applicants should choose their preferred Mentor from the list below. A rank ordered list of up to 3 potential Mentors should be provided in the cover letter.

Research Area

One World Global/Medical Health Application

Mentor (Department)

Molecular Imaging Contrast

Develop new methods to image cardiovascular disease, asthma, effectiveness of therapies

Angelique Louie (BME)

Organic Synthesis & Catalysis

Addresses the need for selective and efficient synthesis of new medical compounds and biological probes, including new imaging agents and redox active probes for biomedical applications

Annaliese Franz (Chem)

Biochemical Sensors

Develop exhaled breath-based metabolomics and biosensor approaches to pulmonary diagnostics

Cristina Davis (MAE)

Organic & Chemical Biology

Rational drug design based on unusual non-covalent interactions

Dean Tantillo (Chem)

Biomaterials and Stem Cells

Develop new material-based strategies for the treatment of ischemic vascular disease

Eduardo Silva (BME)

Organic Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Development of new antibiotics to fight resistant infections in the developed and developing world

Jared Shaw (Chem)

Protein Engineering

Developing therapeutic enzymes, pharmaceuticals biosynthesis

Justin Siegel (Chem,SOM)

Tissue Engineering

Engineering the environment to guide tissue repair and regeneration

Kent Leach (BME)

Chemical Biology

Development of new therapeutics for cancer and viral diseases

Peter Beal (Chem)

Chemical Biology

Cancer and therapeutic approaches

Sheila David (Chem)

Control of Gene Expression

Optimizing plant development for human nutrient acquisition

Siobhan Brady (Plant Bio)

Cell Biophysics

Mechano-biology and its implications in cancer and other diseases

Soichiro Yamada (BME)

Genome Stability and DNA Repair

Cancer predisposition and anti-cancer therapeutics

Wolf Heyer (Microbiology)

Cardiac signaling and quantitative modeling

Cardiac excitation-contraction coupling, heart disease mechanisms

Ye Chen-Izu (BME)



Beckman Scholars Annual Research Symposium

During the summer, Beckman Scholars from throughout the country who have completed their academic year and summer terms of undergraduate research activities will gather for an Annual Research Symposium at the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, California.

The Beckman Scholars Annual Symposium will feature:

  • Scientific and poster presentations by Beckman Scholars.
  • Keynote presentations by internationally prominent scientific figures.
  • Series of informal concurrent seminars on topics of special interest by leading scientists from academia, industry and national government laboratories.
  • Social activities.

The annual symposium will be a three-evening, two-day event. All symposium-related travel and lodging for Beckman Scholars and faculty mentors will be paid for by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.


To be eligible for consideration students must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, a major in science or engineering, minimum GPA of 3.5, must continue to be an enrolled undergraduate through at least Spring quarter 2019, and be available to participate as researchers as follows: Full-time Summer 2018; Part-time during Academic year 2018-19; Full-time Summer 2019. Note: students graduating Spring 2019 are eligible to apply as long as they are committed to full-time participation in Summer 2019, immediately following graduation.


Applications Due by February 16, 2018, 5:00 p.m. No late aplications will be accepted.

Applications must include the items listed below.  Submit all items as a single pdf document to Dr. Jennifer Choi  Name your pdf file: "Lastname_FirstnameBeckman.pdf".  Incorrectly named files will not be accepted.

  • Cover letter indicating preferred faculty mentor(s)
  • Transcripts
  • Letter of recommendation from former supervisor who can comment on the student's aptitude and promise for a career in research
  • Writing sample (single spaced, minimum 11 pt font): Two-page summary of a prior research or lab experience in the form of an extended abstract.

You may talk to a faculty mentor to inquire about working in their laboratory, but prior selection of a mentor is not a requirement for application. If you do not have a pre-arranged mentor, please list your top 3 choices for faculty mentors in your cover letter.

Four to five top applicants will be selected for personal interviews where they will be asked to comment on their future career plans and give 5-10 minute presentations on a past research topic or on the proposed research.


2012-13 Beckman Scholars


Natalie Tellis

Molly Fensterwald



2013-14 Beckman Scholars


Eric Ronne

Caroline Vissers



2014-15 Beckman Scholars


Zi Yao



Beckman Scholars 2016-17

Ada Kwong


Niba Nirmal




Beckman Scholars 2017-18

Joleen Cheah


Osamu Yasui