Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program

Monday, June 6, 2016 through Friday, August 12, 2016

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The State University of New York Upstate Medical University, College of Graduate Studies is offering fellowships for its 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. The aim of the SURF program is to expose undergraduate students to biomedical research. In an intensive ten-week summer program, undergraduates with appropriate faculty help will formulate their own proposal, carry out research under the supervision of one of our faculty, write a research paper and have the opportunity to see their work published. In the process, students will attend research seminars, present and participate in a student journal club, present their work, and participate in discussions on alternative careers in research and how to apply to graduate school. Students are given ample opportunities to interact directly with many of our faculty and graduate students.

The program runs from Monday, June 6, 2016 through Friday, August 12, 2016.

Each fellow will be provided a $3,000 stipend for the period plus housing.

Applicants to the program should be undergraduate students in good academic standing, who will be between their junior and senior years during the summer of 2016, and are majors in chemistry, biology, or a related field. Applicants must have a strong interest in pursuing a Ph.D. degree in biomedical research.

The main criteria for the selection of fellows will be personal scholarship, academic excellence, and the match of applicant interests with those of participating SUNY Upstate Medical University biomedical faculty members. International students who currently have a J-1 or F-1 visa, and who are already attending school in the United States, are eligible to apply.


In addition to the completed application form including a personal statement of your academic goals and career objectives, please submit the following documentation:

  • An official transcript of your undergraduate study to date.
  • Two letters of recommendation. These may be requested from professors related to your major, an advisor, and/or department chair. [Letters of recommendation can be mailed, or emailed, by your recommender to the program.]

Mail supplemental documents to:
SUNY Upstate Medical University
College of Graduate Studies
SURF Program
Room 3122, Weiskoktten Hall
766 Irving Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13210
315 464-4538
FAX: 315-464-4544

Deadline for Applications: February 15, 2016

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Mentors

  • Dr. William Brunken: Role of epigenetic factors, particularly the extracellular matrix, in brain and retinal development.
  • Dr. Xin Jie Chen: We study the mechanism of mitochondrial degeneration and mitochondria-induced cell death in aging and aging-related diseases.
  • Dr. Michael Cosgrove External Icon: Structural biochemistry of protein complexes involved in the epigenetic regulation of chromatin.
  • Dr. Wenyi Feng External Icon:  Mechanisms of chromosome fragility from yeast to human
  • Dr. Huaiyu Hu: Mechanisms of brain malformations and gene therapeutic approaches in congenital muscular dystrophies.
  • Dr. Patricia Kane: Genetics, genomics, and biochemistry of cellular pH regulation.
  • Dr. Bruce Knutson: Molecular mechanism of RNA polymerase I transcription and its dysregulation in cancer and disease.
  • Dr. Mira Krendel: Analysis of the role of myosins (actin-dependent motor proteins) in membrane trafficking, cell motility, and cell adhesion. Myosins in kidney diease and cancer.
  • Dr. Stewart Loh: Design of protein-based molecular switches for biology, biotechnology, and medicine.
  • Dr. Juntao Luo: Rational design of nanocarriers for the delivery of anticancer drugs, protein therapeutics and gene molecules.
  • Dr. David Pruyne: We study how cytoskeletal structures in muscle cells and other cell types are assembled in a simple animal model system. Our techniques include genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry with purified proteins.
  • Dr. Mark Schmitt: An enzymatic non-coding RNA that is conserved from Archea to humans.
  • Dr. Vladimir Sirotkin: Biochemical analysis and live cell imaging of Arp2/3 complex-dependent actin assembly during endocytosis.
  • Dr. Daniel Ts'o: Neural mechanisms of visual processing, employing electrophysiological, anatomical, computational and functional imaging methodologies.
  • Dr. Gary Winslow: Host immune response to bacterial pathogens.
  • Dr. Wei-Dong Yao: The Yao lab studies synaptic formation, modulation, and plasticity mechanisms in cortical circuits and their impairments in neuropsychiatric and neurological diseases.
  • Dr. Sijun Zhu: Elucidating genetic mechanisms regulating neural stem cell self-renewal and specification using genetic, cellular and molecular biological approaches.