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 (UA) 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, National Institutes of Health, and the Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities), private non-profit organizations (HHMI, the Arnold and Mabel 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, BIO5, and the Colleges of Medicine, Science, Agriculture, Engineering, Public Health, and Pharmacy), and private industry (Sanofi and the Bioindustry Organization of Southern Arizona). 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.