Center for Humanities & History of Modern Biology

Undergraduate Research Program (URP) Collection Processing

The following is another post in our series highlighting the collections that are being processed through the NHPRC Basic Processing Grant.

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Undergraduate Research Program (URP) was established in 1959 to give undergraduate students an opportunity to conduct research in a professional environment. The program was initially composed of 10 American students but today has expanded to 25 international students.

urp 1987

URP Students - 1987

Notable alumni include David Baltimore (1959) who along with Renato Dulbecco and Howard Martin Temin won the 1975 Nobel Prize for "for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell,” Alfred Goldberg (1961) professor at Harvard Medical School, Charles Gilbert (1969,1970) professor at Rockefeller University, Gerry Rubin (1970) Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and Geraldine Seydoux professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins.

Below is a photo of David Baltimore with Dr. Berwind P. Kaufmann, collaborating investigator, Carnegie Institute of Washington, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

b kaufman  d baltimore 1959 urp

The collection was in excellent physical shape and consisted of program applications, correspondence and photographs. The most interesting part was the list of participants along with their undergraduate school and topic of student. Over the years, one could see the growth of geographic diversity in the students as well as the increasingly complexity of their research areas. Particularly fun was the 40th Anniversary Brochure which showcased all of the participants and their research. As noted above, the collection was primarily paper (photographs and documents) but a search through the 1979 folders found Magnetic Data Cards.

urp img 0693

Obviously, these are unreadable today and are a good lesson for us all to continually update our software and pay attention to the “download the latest version now” reminders.