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MSTP Summer Research Program

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) – Summer Research Program offers undergraduate students with interests  in pursuing MD/PhD dual degree training an opportunity to conduct summer research in the lab of a physician-scientist at Vanderbilt. In addition to gaining valuable research experience, students will participate in a variety of formal and informal mentoring activities and will gain clinical shadowing experience.

The MSTP Summer Research Program allows for undergraduates to conduct an independent hypothesis-driven research project in the laboratory of a physician-scientist. In addition, participants will gain clinical experience by shadowing their physician-scientist mentor in the clinic. This experience will give first-hand insight into the career of a physician-scientist. All participants in the MSTP Summer Research Program will be assigned MSTP student mentors, attend the weekly MSTP Data Club, attend program specific enrichment sessions, and be invited to participate in all of the VSSA enrichment seminars and social activities. At the completion of the MSTP Summer Research Program, the participants will present their research project at the annual VSSA Research Symposium.

Students can select research projects in the following areas:

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Disease
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cancer Biology
  • Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Chemical & Physical Biology
  • Human Genetics
  • Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
  • Neurosciences
  • Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology
  • Pharmacology

Megan Williams, PhD, will assist participants in the MSTP Summer Research Program to identify and select a physician-scientist preceptor based on the participants’ research and clinical interests.


  • The MSTP Summer Research Program will provide a stipend of $4,000 for the nine-week period, which will help with food and living expenses.
  • Housing will be provided in a Vanderbilt University dormitory. Information on Vanderbilt summer housing can be found here:
  • Travel to and from Nashville is covered by the program
  • Participants will receive a $500 travel grant to present their summer research at either the SACNAS/NDiSTEM or ABRCMS conferences


  • We encourage applications from members of diverse groups including racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in science, individuals with disabilities, individuals from geographically- and economically-disadvantaged backgrounds, first generation college students, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and more.
  • Applicants must be US Citizens or have US Permanent Resident status.
  • Applicants must be college undergraduates during the summer of the program year. Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors are all encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants should have a strong desire to pursue MD/PhD dual degree training. This program is not designed for those who wish to pursue the MD or MPH degree. If you are interested in the MD degree, please consider applying to the Undergraduate Clinical Research Internship Program.
  • Applicants are encouraged to have prior research experience, but it is not a requirement.
  • Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Application Instructions

The application will include:

  • A brief personal statement which addresses your scientific interests, your qualifications for the program, and how you believe this program will help you achieve your professional goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation submitted online (if you have prior research experience, it will be helpful to have a letter from your research mentor).
  • Uploaded unofficial transcript

The application opens on October 1. The application deadline is February 1, 2024. Click here to start the application through the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy.


  • Megan Williams, PhD
  • Director, MSTP Summer Research Program
  • Assistant Director, Medical Scientist Training Program
  • (615) 875-9372