Summer Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP)

SUIP » Program

Program Overview

The Summer Undergraduate Internship Program is designed to provide an immersive research experience to students interested in graduate study in the biomedical sciences. Interns complete ten weeks of full-time laboratory research, attend research seminars on current topics, and give scientific presentations to their peers and mentors.  Interns also receive training in responsible conduct of research, laboratory safety and presentation skills. Additionally, interns are invited to attend career counseling sessions in which faculty and program administrators discuss graduate school and career opportunities for biomedical scientists.

Laboratory Research

Pipetting at benchStudent at lab benchStudent at lab benchStudent in lab with pipettePipette

Each intern is matched with an appropriate faculty mentor from the Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) program at the University of Pennsylvania. Interns participate in the ongoing research in the investigator's laboratory and perform a specific, supervised research project related to the goals of the laboratory. Interns also interact with postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and other laboratory personnel.  Mentors are drawn from over 600 biomedical faculty representing various departments and schools.  Areas of research include:

Research Presentations

Poster session arial viewLeadership Alliance National SymposiumSUIP student at poster


The University of Pennsylvania belongs to the Leadership Alliance, a consortium of over 30 leading research and teaching academic institutions.  Participants include Ivy League and minority-serving institutions, all dedicated to improving the participation of underserved students in graduate programs, and ultimately, research professions in the academic, public and private sectors. Interns in the SUIP attend the Leadership Alliance Annual National Symposium and present their summer research as talks. Summer interns will also present posters on their research projects at Penn to the other program participants, BGS faculty and students, postdocs and staff at the conclusion of the program.


Past research topics include:

The effect of kinase inhibitors on Junin virus entry process
Immunoaffinity enrichment of potential disease biomarkers in blood plasma
Cell type selective reduction of NMDA receptors for schizophrenia targeted therapeutic development
Dissection of the fibrillogenic activity of the premelanosome matrix protein, Pmel 17
Evaluation of neural phenotypes and therapeutic interventions in a zebrafish model of Batten disease
p53 status alters the effects of KLF5 on cell proliferation
The role of BLOC-1 in melanosome biogenesis and protein trafficking
Role of melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) in obesity
The role of lipid uptake in cancer cells
Validation and discovery of RNA/ DNA differences
Phenotypic screening of the T31 RH panel for tissue specific gene expression
Cell-to-cell fusion assay by HIV-1 envelopes from the periphery and central nervous system primary isolates
Investigating potential glial cell abnormalities in lpr-1 and let-4 mutants
Effects of predator odor stress on CRF release and cognitive flexibility in rats
Vaccination of HIV-1 infected subjects on HAART boosts cellular immune responses
Varying statistical structure of sounds: Effect on behavioral discrimination of rats and on response properties of the auditory cortex













Program Activities

Phillies baseball gameSUIP sponsors the Summer Seminar Series, a sequence of talks by BGS faculty on topics of interest in the biomedical sciences. These seminars provide interns with an opportunity to discover the breadth of research being conducted in various fields. Interns are encouraged to ask questions and participate in group discussions. Throughout the summer, interns undergo training in laboratory safety, the responsible conduct of research, and how to give research presentations. They also meet with the directors of the BGS PhD program and the MD-PhD program to learn about PhD and MD-PhD admissions.

Interns enjoy a variety of social events including trips to area museums, concerts and performances, historical sites, and social events with current graduate students, faculty and program staff.  The University of Pennsylvania hosts several summer programs and there are many free events on campus that are open to participants.  Philadelphia is a great city to visit, and an even better place to live.


Dates and Funding

The program is ten weeks; the 2016 program will begin on June 6. Interns must attend for the full duration of the program. Each intern receives a competitive stipend, which is paid in installments at the end of each month. On-campus housing in the dormitories is provided at no cost to the intern. The program will pay reasonable round-trip transportation costs for travel to and from the University of Pennsylvania. Daily commuting expenses cannot be reimbursed. An internship is not a typical summer job; interns work long hours and the salary is just enough to cover the cost of living. However the intellectual challenges and rewards of the research experience are substantial.


The program is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only.  Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited, four-year college for the fall semester after the program ends. We encourage applications from students of all backgrounds, particularly those from underrepresented minority groups or disadvantaged backgrounds; with disabilities; or who attend small colleges.


The SUIP receives financial support from a variety of organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, The Leadership Alliance, and Genentech Foundation, as well as Biomedical Graduate Studies of the University of Pennsylvania.

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