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Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)
in Molecular and Developmental Neurobiology


Program Description

Rutgers University is pleased to invite applications for the 2017 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) in Molecular and Developmental Neurobiology which is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The goals of the program are to:

  • Increase student knowledge and appreciation of basic Neuroscience research by providing a closely-mentored, hands-on graduate level research experience.
  • Increase student knowledge and interest in pursuing careers in research through career development and educational activities.

Requirements for Admission

  • Applicants must be United States citizens or permanent residents
  • Applicants must have completed at least one year of college prior to the start of the program. Applicants who will have received their undergraduate degree prior to the start of the program are not eligible.
  • Applicants should have good academic credentials including courses in biology.
  • Applicants should be interested in pursuing research in their careers.
  • Applicants from all schools are encouraged to apply. Special consideration will be given to minority groups that are underrepresented in the sciences, first-generation college students, or students who attend schools with limited research opportunities.
  • Applicants already admitted to graduate or professional schools will not be considered.

Description of Program

  • Twelve outstanding applicants will be selected to join a research laboratory at Rutgers located in Piscataway and New Brunswick, NJ for a 10 week program, where they will engage in hands-on experimentation. Under the supervision of their faculty mentors, students will be expected to implement individual research projects during this period. This involves helping to formulate a hypothesis based on the mentor's previous studies, and learning laboratory skills, data collection and documentation.
  • Areas of research involve a broad range of translational topics in developmental and adult neurobiology related to Alzheimer's Disease, Autism, Multiple Sclerosis, Mood Disorders, Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, Seizures and Lysosomal Storage Disease among others. 
  • Insights into these conditions is gained by studies on: gene expression and regulation, molecular genetics, ion channel, receptor and enzyme function, hormone, cytokine and growth factor actions, cytoskeletal function, membrane structure, cell fate specification, stem cell differentiation, behavior and learning.
  • Model systems include mammalian, lower vertebrate, and invertebrate organisms. Research will be performed in accordance with all university and NIH guidelines.
  • Faculty mentors for 2016 included: Janet Alder, PhD & Smita Thakker Varia, PhDGary Aston-Jones, PhDEmanuel DiCicco-Bloom, MD; Ron Hart, PhD; Kelvin Kwan, PhD; Peter Lobel, PhD; David Margolis, PhD; Michael Matise, PhD; Mladen Roko Rasin, MD/PhDLong-Jun Wu, PhD; Huaye Zhang, PhD.
  • As part of the program, students will read published research articles pertaining to their projects, participate in laboratory meetings with their faculty advisors, and perform research in the laboratory full time.
  • Students will also attend weekly group lunch meetings consisting of discussion of their research projects, graduate shool and career counselling, as well as invited guests who speak about their career choices. Past guests have included representatives from Rutgers Graduate schools, local pharmaceutical companies, academia, and various other careers pursued by individuals with graduate-level science backgrounds. Click here to see lunch topics and speakers for 2016.
  • Lectures in neuroscience, training in lab safety, responsible conduct of research, writing, and presentation will be provided during the orientation and lunch meetings.
  • In addition, a GRE preparatory classes will be offered once a week in the evenings.
  • At the end of the program, students will write a report of their research project in journal-style format and present their findings in a public seminar attended by members of the research community, sponsors of the program, and other guests.

Housing, Stipend and Transportation

  • Housing will be provided and paid for by the program in a Rutgers dormitory with shuttle bus access to restaurants and shopping, as well New Jersey Transit train station to NYC (40min) and Philadelphia (1hr). Students will be encouraged to live in the dorm to foster a sense of community where they can share experiences in their individual laboratories on an informal basis.
  • Students will also receive a $4,000 stipend in addition to the housing.
  • Transportation to and from the students' permanent residence will be covered for the beginning and end of the program. 

Application Instructions

Online application for NeuroSURP 2017 will open on January 4 and close on February 17, 2017 and will require:
1) Curriculum Vitae/Resume
2) Personal statement responding to specific questions on application
2) Unofficial electronic copy of college transcript (note that official copy will be required if you are accepted to the program)
3) Two letters of recommendation submitted via the online application system (note that you can request these letters via the online system prior to submitting your final application)
There is no interview process.

Click Here to access the application site.



Applicants will be notified by April 15, 2017.

The dates of the program are May 30 - August 4, 2017.

Additional Information


Please direct any further inquiries about the program to Ms. Joan Mordes or the Co-directors: Dr. Michael Matise, Dr. Janet Alder, or Dr. Roko Rasin

Ms. Joan Mordes (
SURP Program Administrative Coordinator
Dept. of Neuroscience & Cell Biology
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
683 Hoes Lane West, Research Building 363
Piscataway, NJ 08854


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