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projects: chromatin enzymes
projects: chromaint factors

projects: DNA ladders
projects: polycistronic expression
picture & movie gallery
gallery: amino acids
gallery: secondary structure
gallery: selected proteins
gallery: protein/DNA complexes

background reading


Made on a Mac

We enthusiastically encourage undergraduate research in our lab. Undergraduates who work in our lab gain valuable experience using cutting-edge technology to study important biological problems.

An example of an undergraduate driven project is our DNA ladder project to provide a simple and inexpensive source of DNA molecular weight markers to the molecular biology community.

Our philosophy is to encourage undergraduates to learn new techniques while developing critical thinking. Undergraduates from our lab have progressed to graduate or medical studies at UC Berkeley, CalTech, Cornell, U Penn, Penn State Hershey, Thomas Jefferson and even Harvard Business School. We are proud that many of our undergraduates have won scholarships, including prestigious international scholarships to the U.K. such as the Marshall and the Gates Cambridge.

Most undergraduates work 6-15 hours a week during the semester. Limited full time summer positions for undergraduate research are also available.

Typical undergraduate researchers in our lab are members of the Schreyer Honors College with GPAs above 3.5, but these qualifications are not requirements. Highly motivated freshmen, sophomores or juniors are encouraged to apply through the formal BMB 496 application process.

If you would like additional information about undergraduate research in our lab, please contact Dr. Song Tan by email ( or telephone (814-865-3355).

Publications with undergraduate authors (in bold):

  • Henrici, R.C., T. J. Pecen, J.L. Johnston and Tan, S. (2017) The pPSU plasmids for generating DNA molecular weight markers, Scientific Reports, 7:2438. (Penn State News)

  • McGinty, R.K, R.C. Henrici and S. Tan (2014). Crystal structure of the PRC1 ubiquitylation module bound to the nucleosome. Nature, 514:591-596.

  • Makde, R.D., J.R. England, H. Yennawar and S. Tan (2010). Structure of RCC1 chromatin factor bound to the nucleosome core particle. Nature, 467:562-566. (abstract)

  • England, J.R., J. Huang, M.J. Jennings, R. D. Makde, and S. Tan (2010). RCC1 uses a conformationally diverse loop region to interact with the nucleosome: a model for the RCC1-nucleosome complex. J. Mol Biol., 398:518-529. (abstract)

  • Lichty, J.L., J.L. Malecki, H.D. Agnew, D.J. Michelson-Horowitz and S. Tan (2005) Comparison of Affinity Tags for Protein Purification, Prot. Expr. Purif., 41:98-105. (abstract)
  • Tan, S., R. C. Kern and W. Selleck (2005) The pST44 polycistronic expression system for producing protein complexes in Escherichia coli, Prot. Expr. Purif., 40:385-395. (abstract)

  • Selleck, W., R. Howley, J. Fang, V. Podolny, M.G. Fried, S. Buratowski and Tan, S. (2001) A histone fold TAF octamer within the yeast TFIID transcriptional coactivator, Nature Struct. Biol., 8:695-700. (abstract)

Scholarships and awards won by undergraduates in our lab:

Rosalie Sowers 2018 Goldwater Scholarship
Ryan Henrici 2015

Penn State 2015 Undergraduate Exhibition
1st Place for Health & Life Sciences,
1st Place for Information Literary

Ryan Henrici 2014 Marshall Scholarship to U.K.
Ryan Henrici 2014 Goldwater Scholarship
Ryan Henrici 2014 Astronaut Scholarhip
Brian Geary 2014 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award
Ryan Henrici 2014 Penn State Summer Discovery Grant
Heather Agnew 2012 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award
Zach Hostetler 2011 Penn State Summer Discovery Grant
Abhinav Nair 2010 Penn State Summer Discovery Grant
Aaron Nogan 2009 BMB Summer Research Award
Andrew Fleischman 2008 Penn State Summer Discovery Grant
Joseph England 2007 Penn State Summer Discovery Grant
Mei Zhou 2006 Penn State Summer Discovery Grant
Michael Bonner 2005 Penn State Summer Discovery Grant
Austin Thiel 2004 BMB Summer Research Award
Heather Agnew 2003 Gates Cambridge Scholarship to U.K.
Christopher Roscher 2002 Berg Summer Research Fellowship

Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce

video introduction | projects: | chromatin enzymes | chromatin factors | DNA ladders | polycistronic expression | picture & movie gallery: | amino acids | secondary structure | selected proteins | protein/DNA complexes |
background reading | reprints | positions |
lab pictures |

This page is maintained by Song Tan: (814-865-3355)
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 108 Althouse Lab, University Park, PA 16802

This page was last updated on October 12, 2020.

Penn State BMB Eberly College of Science