The Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) was established in 1988 in the Department of Biochemistry by the late Dr. Michael Wells. Supported initially by departmental funds and faculty mentors’ research grants, there were 19 UBRPers in 1988 and they worked with 13 faculty mentors drawn from six departments located in three University of Arizona colleges. The program expanded significantly in June 1989 with support from grants made by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

From the very beginning faculty mentors have paid half of the UBRP students’ wages. Over the years, UBRP has had support from external grants from federal agencies (NSF, and the National Institutes of Health); and private non-profit organizations (HHMI, the Beckman Foundation, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics) as well as from faculty mentors’ research grants, internal UA funds (from the Provost, the Vice President for Research, BIO 5, and the Colleges of Medicine, Science, Agriculture, Engineering, Public Health, and Pharmacy), and Sanofi. UBRP now supports approximately 100 UA undergraduate students per year and includes more than 240 faculty sponsors drawn from 43 UA departments, the UA College of Medicine in Phoenix, and the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.