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The Molecular and Cellular Biology Summer Program

This program is for undergraduate students who are interested in Ph.D. graduate work. Facilitated through the the Vanderbilt Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, this program provides hands-on research experience in the laboratory of an IGP faculty preceptor.


The Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) at Vanderbilt University conducts a summer research program as part of the Summer Science Academy for undergraduates who are interested in pursuing a PhD in the biomedical sciences. Participating departments include: Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Cancer Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Human Genetics, Microbe-Host Interactions, Molecular Pathology and Immunology, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Neuroscience, and Pharmacology. There are three primary objectives we seek to provide for each student during the summer.

  • To provide a substantive research experience that will allow each student to actively participate in a laboratory project including reading the relevant literature, developing ideas, and communicating findings to colleagues’ research and skills.
  • To provide enrichment seminars that will help construct a strong foundation on which to build scientific careers.
  • To provide guidance and preparation for entrance to graduate school.

Invitations to participate in the MCB summer program are sent to the selected qualified applicants by mid-February to mid-March. Students should reply with their decision to participate within two weeks of notification. Assignments will be made based upon the needs of faculty preceptors and compatibility of applicants, determined from the interest areas selected, the statement of purpose and recommendation letters. Participants will be notified of their assignment by mid-April allowing students the chance to establish communication with the assigned mentor prior to their arrival. Once in the lab, the summer interns will engage in laboratory experiments using a variety of biomedical techniques and instruments. The interns will hone their laboratory skills, collect data, make inferences based on their results, and become familiar with the nature of scientific inquiry. The summer interns will then present the results of their own independent research projects at the research symposium that is held at the end of the summer.


  • The summer research interns will receive a stipend for the nine-week period. The amount is to be determined.
  • Housing will be provided at one of the Vanderbilt University campus dormitories and paid for by the program.


  • Rising juniors and seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
  • Applicants must have taken a biology, chemistry, and/or biochemistry course.

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 goal of attending graduate school.
  • 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 online application deadline is February 1. Click here to start the application through the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy