scientist and interns looking at petri dish

Training and education opportunities with Nereid Bio.


The Nereid Bio team is available to present to public audiences and classrooms. Contact us to learn more.


The Nereid Biomaterials Research and Industry Internships program is a 9-month training initiative designed to prepare undergraduates for the STEM workforce. Interns will work side-by-side with an interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, government experts, and story tellers to develop, test, and market novel ocean-degradable plastics. Mentors will guide interns in identifying project goals, milestones, and to develop scientific communication, teamwork, and project management skills needed for today’s workforce. 

We are currently accepting applications for Winter/Spring 2024 internships. All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 PM on November 19, 2023.

Internship Program Information for UCSB students

Academic Year and Summer Internship Details

Selected interns will embark on a 6-month academic year training program at UCSB. Interns successfully completing the Winter/Spring 2024 component of the program will be invited to continue for Summer 2024 -- see project descriptions for details. They will also enroll in the Spring 2024 "Practice of Science" course, which is a requirement for the summer component of the program.

Academic Year Program

  • Program Dates: January 8 to June 14, 2024
  • $1,000 stipend
  • Spring 2024 "Practice of Science" course
  • Project presentations at the UCSB Spring Colloquium, Nereid All Hands Meeting, and other venues

Summer Program

  • Program Dates: June 24 to August 30, 2024
  • $10K stipend for successful completion of internship
  • Professional development workshops, networking, and seminars
  • Project presentations at the Nereid Final Talks and CSEP Poster Summer Colloquium, and other venues

All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 PM on November 19, 2023.

Eligibility Requirements

For the academic year/summer internships, we are seeking applicants who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Full-time UCSB undergraduate student
  • Sophomore standing or higher at time of application
  • Interest in working with the Nereid interdisciplinary team on one of the project areas listed below

All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 PM on November 19, 2023.

Internship Project Areas

Business Development (Alyson Santoro Lab): Nereid Biomaterials is a cross-disciplinary tech transfer project aimed at commercializing novel ocean-degradable biomaterials and living materials. Plastic pollution is a clear threat to our oceans, but most 'compostable' solutions degrade extremely slowly or not at all in the cold, dark ocean. Our technology centers around degradation of PHB-based bioplastics in marine conditions by naturally-occurring microbes, leaving no microplastics or toxic byproducts behind. Our initial target application is ocean sensors and fishing/aquaculture equipment. The Nereid Biomaterials intern will compile data on the market for biodegradable materials and sustainable tech, research similar startups and technologies, and participate in other business development tasks guided by the team's Project Manager. This opportunity is located at UCSB and will be offered Winter, Spring, and Summer 2024 to students with a background or interest in business development and analytics, particularly related to the blue economy and green tech.

Marine Microbiology (Alyson Santoro Lab): The Santoro lab studies single-celled organisms called bacteria and archaea involved in nutrient cycling, especially of the element nitrogen. Microbes that convert nitrogen among its various forms live in the ocean, coastal sediments, and soils. They experiment with these organisms in the lab, look for their DNA in the environment, and measure rates of the different chemical reactions they perform. They also try to understand how and when these organisms evolved, how they collaborate with other organisms, and how they keep our ocean clean. Interns on the Nereid project will participate in microbiology research in the Santoro lab and monitoring activities at CINMS, located on the UCSB campus with mentorship from a graduate student. They will also assist with isolations of PHB-degrading microorganisms. This project is located at UCSB and will be offered in Winter, Spring and Summer 2024 to students with a background or interest in molecular biology, microbiology, material science, chemical engineering, chemistry, or marine biology. This position has been filled for 2024.

Biopolymer Production (Mango Materials): Mango Materials is a renewable bioproducts company located in the San Francisco Bay Area that strives to be the global leader in the bio-manufacturing revolution. We have developed a proprietary platform that delivers optimally-formulated, biodegradable polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) pellets that incorporate into supply chains to replace traditional plastics. As part of the Nereid project, interns at Mango Materials will set up and monitor biodegradation studies using a respirometer to assess the biodegradation rates of PHA-based materials in seawater compared to other polymers. Interns will also assist with fermentation and material property analyses. This internship will be offered in Summer 2024 at Mango Materials in the Bay Area to students with a background or interest in molecular biology, microbiology, material science, chemical engineering, chemistry, or marine biology. This position will be filled by one of the selected 2024 academic year interns.

Marine Debris, Federal Policy, and Regulatory Testing (CINMS): NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) is recognized as an ecologically significant marine ecosystem, supporting tremendous biodiversity near highly populated Southern California. A wide range of sanctuary research and monitoring projects reflects a diversity of science partners involved; most recently working with Nereid Biomaterials. This internship will include research and development of a report on the state of microplastics in West Coast Sanctuaries, scope potential end products from Nereid bioplastics with Office of National Marine Sanctuaries stakeholders, and coordinate with other NOAA/gov efforts on plastic reduction. The intern will also assist with in situ degradation testing at Channel Islands and Olympic Coast NMS and compare that with degradation rates of similar efforts for bioplastics being conducted in Monterey Bay. Science communication and social media outreach will be included. This internship is primarily in the Santa Barbara area and will be offered in Winter, Spring and Summer 2024 to students with an Environmental Science, Biology, Geography, or Political Science background.

Documentary Film Production (Brier Films): Brier films is an independent documentary and commercial production company based in Venice, CA. Brier has worked extensively with nonprofits, environmentally-minded companies, and tourism boards creating short, branded documentaries and commercial content; most recently working with Nereid Biomaterials. This internship program will be offered in Summer 2024 to students interested in film and (or) environmental fields and work closely with the Nereid team and Brier to develop and produce video assets for social media, web outlets, including film festivals and educational platforms. In addition to the items listed above, this internship will also give students the opportunity to participate in other documentary related projects with Brier, ranging from wildlife coexistence to clean water and sanitation access. Ability to travel and flexibility in hours are especially important for this role over the Summer period. Recruitment for this position will begin in January 2024.

How to Apply -- Application Process

Application Process

The following application materials must be received by 11:59 PM on November 19, 2023.

Application form

Statement of Interest: These can only be uploaded AFTER submitting the application form.

  • Briefly describe your research area of interest. This need not be based on research that you have done or are currently doing. We simply want to understand what areas interest you.
  • Describe how this internship program will help you reach your current/future educational and career aspirations. How will you contribute to our intern community if you are accepted? 
  • OPTIONAL: We acknowledge that every student has had unique life experiences that may not be captured in the above questions. The selection committee is interested in learning more about extenuating circumstances you may have encountered throughout your journey. If you have none to write about, please write "N/A".

CV/resume (PDF smaller than 5MB to be uploaded after submitting the application form).

Unofficial transcript (PDF smaller than 5MB to be uploaded after submitting the application form).

Interview and Selection Process

Approximately two weeks after the submission deadline, applicants selected for interviews will be notified by email and asked to sign-up for an interview time. All communication will be via email.  Please confirm that your email address is correct and check your email frequently. Though only some students will be selected for interviews, all applicants will be notified of the status of their application when the interview/selection process is complete (approximately four weeks after application deadline).

Program Contact

M. Ofelia Aguirre Paden

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