The Conte Center Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) in Neuroscience

The Conte SURE program provides undergraduate students the opportunity to perform neuroscience research in the laboratory of faculty affiliated with the Vanderbilt/NIMH Conte Center for Neuroscience Research. 


The Vanderbilt/NIMH Conte Center for Neuroscience Research studies the Enduring Effects of Early-Life Serotonin Signaling. 

Serotonin (5-HT) influences a wide variety of behaviors including anxiety, mood, appetite, sleep and aggression.  Changes in the serotonin system, such as disruption of 5-HT synthesis or genetic variation in the serotonin transporter or its receptors, have been linked to anxiety, depression, suicide, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism.  The Conte Center is examining changes in embryonic and post-natal serotonin signaling and how those changes impact risks for and development of neuropsychiatric disorders later in life.

Students participating in the Conte SURE program will have the opportunity to spend their summer in a Conte Center affiliated lab performing neuroscience research. 

In addition to the hands-on research experience, students will interact with a variety of faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research assistants to learn about the process of biomedical research.  Students will develop communication and presentation skills and expand their abilities for independent thinking as they work on their projects.

 The SURE program is administered in cooperation with the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy and the Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Pharmacology.  These programs provide additional opportunities for summer students to learn more about graduate school entrance exams, graduate education opportunities at Vanderbilt and beyond, and offer weekly classes to help students enhance their research and critical thinking skills.

For more information about the Conte Center and to learn about the faculty participating in the SURE program, click here.


  • Summer research students will receive a stipend for their 9 week commitment 
  • On-campus housing will be provided at a Vanderbilt dormitory 

Eligibility & Application

  • Undergraduate with GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale 
  • Ideal candidates have a strong interest in pursuing a graduate degree
  • Conte SURE is open to all students with undergraduate status during program dates
  • Students from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply

Online application deadline is February 1, 2016, click here to start the application through the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy