The Department of Physiology and Biophysics Summer Undergraduate Research Program is an important component of the departmental educational effort. This program is designed to provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to obtain first-hand research experience in a state-of-the-art research environment. The immediate goal is to provide students with a rewarding and confidence-building experience. The ultimate goal is to foster new careers in biomedical research. Candidates who are interested in this program must have a genuine interest in exploring career options in biomedical research.
The program lasts for eight weeks during the summer, although interested students are encouraged and welcomed to prolong their stay. Students are paid a stipend of $2,500 dollars (one half from the department and one half from the sponsoring laboratory) for the eight week program and, in many cases, housing support is also available. In addition, students who are planning to participate for a second year may desire to write a research proposal for a national research service award (American Heart Association, American Cancer Association, National Institutes of Health, etc.). Applications for these prestigious awards are written in conjunction with a Department of Physiology and Biophysics faculty mentor during the semester prior to the second summer. The student need not be in the department while preparing these applications. These awards provide $2,500 per summer in stipend support. In recognition of the initiative required to obtain these grants, the department will award a student who obtains a national research service award an additional $1,000 to be contributed by the department so that the net support is $3,500.
During the first several days of the program, the mentor and the student identify an appropriate research project and write a single page proposal describing the planned research. This proposal is signed by the student and the sponsoring faculty mentor and is then submitted for approval to the SURP Program Director, Dr. Andrea Romani. This document becomes the blueprint for the summers work. It describes the scientific background underpinning the proposal, describes the techniques to be used, and sets out goals to be accomplished during the summer.
At the beginning of the second week, the SURP students meet as a body to discuss and present their research plans to the other SURP students. Later in the week the students meet again to listen to brief research presentations from physiology graduate students (two students per week). These biweekly meetings are repeated on a weekly basis during the eight weeks, providing students with a forum for discussing their work and presenting their progress. Dr. Romani will attend these presentations, along with several physiology graduate students, to assist in facilitating discussion.
During the last week of the SURP program, the students gather with the faculty and their research mentors to present their SURP project to the department. A faculty committee selects the top two students for reception of the SURP Research Recognition Awards.
Please contact program administrator for more details, dates and deadlines.