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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 2015 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.

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 topics in developmental and adult neurobiology, including studies in: 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 2014 included: Janet Alder, PhD & Smita Thakker Varia, PhD; Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom, MD; Cheryl Dreyfus, PhD; Bonnie Firestein, PhD; Ron Hart, PhD; Kelvin Kwan, PhD ; Peter Lobel, PhD; Michael Matise, PhD; Zhiping Pang, PhD; Mladen Roko Rasin, MD/PhD; Martin Schwander, 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 attend weekly luncheons with other summer students and faculty where invited guests 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. Training in lab safety, scientific ethics, writing and presentation will be provided during the lunch meetings. In addition, a GRE preparatory classes will be offered once a week in the evenings. Click here to see lunch topics and speakers for 2014. 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 and Stipend

Housing will be provided in a beautiful Rutgers dormitory in New Brunswick within walking distance to shuttle buses to the research labs, 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. In addition to the housing, students will be provided with a stipend.

Application Instructions

To apply, please send, or arrange to have sent, the following information by email ( or US Mail. Electronic submission by email is strongly advised. There is no interview process.

1) Application for NeuroSURP 2015.  Download template by clicking here
2) Curriculum Vitae/Resume
3) Unofficial electronic copy of college transcript (note that official copy will be required if you are accepted to the program)
4) Two letters of recommendation (tell your professors to put your name in the subject of the email and attach a pdf of the letter).

These items should be sent to:

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


Applicants will be notified by April 15, 2015.

The dates of the program are May 26 - July 31, 2015.

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

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