Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program

Monday, June 4, 2018 through Friday, August 10, 2018

SURF PosterPDF Icon
SURF BrochurePDF Icon

The State University of New York Upstate Medical University, College of Graduate Studies is offering fellowships for its 2018 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 4, 2018 through Friday, August 10, 2018.

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 2017, 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.

SURF Physician-Scientist Program (SURF PS)
The SUNY Upstate Medical University SURF Physician-Scientist Program (SURF PS) is a special pathway and admissions option for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). This initiative is aimed at exposing undergraduates, specifically students from backgrounds under-represented in science and healthcare, to the career path of a physician-scientist.

Prospective fellows will apply alongside traditional SURF students. Accepted fellows will be exposed to basic and translational science alongside both a PI and a current MD/PhD student mentor that is in the PhD portion of training. Fellows will have the opportunity to fulfill clinical curiosity in weekly rounds with an MD/PhD clinical faculty. The remaining requirements and events are the same as their fellow SURF peers.



  • Complete the SURF online application, including a personal statement of your academic goals and career objectives.
  • Submit an official transcript of your undergraduate study to date.
  • Have two letters of recommendation submitted to the SURF Program. The letters of recommendation 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 16, 2018

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Mentors

  • Dr. Michael Cosgrove External Icon: Structural biochemistry of the Mixed Lineage Leukemia core complex.
  • Dr. Thomas Duncan: Allosteric regulation of bacterial ATP synthase in E. coli & in pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
  • Dr. Diana Gilligan: The role of miRNA in the development of acute leukemia.
  • Dr. Heidi Hehnly: The role of cell division in tissue morphogenesis.
  • Dr. Huaiyu Hu: Mechanisms of retinitis pigmentosa studied with zebrafish models.
  • Dr. Patricia Kane: Genetics, genomics, and biochemistry of cellular pH regulation.
  • Dr. Christine King: Dr. King's research focuses primarily on understanding how the innate immune system contributes to the pathogenesis of severe viral infections with the goal to develop novel therapeutics for treatment.
  • Dr. Bruce Knutson: Integrated biology of macromolecular transcription complexes in cancer and developmental 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: protein folding, engineering, and design
  • Dr. Juntao Luo: Rational design of nanocarriers for the delivery of anticancer drugs, protein therapeutics and gene molecules.
  • Dr. Eric Olson: The Olson laboratory uses multiphoton microscopy to determine how mutations and toxins (ethanol) contribute to diseases like intellectual disability, autism and fetal alcohol syndrome.
  • Dr. Mark Schmitt: RNA nanostructures for drug delivery.
  • Dr. Vladimir Sirotkin: Biochemical analysis and live cell imaging of Arp2/3 complex-dependent actin assembly during endocytosis.
  • Dr. Gary Winslow: Host immune response to bacterial pathogens.