Summer Undergraduate MSTP Research (SUMR) Program


Joseph Chin, Pepperdine University, Summer 2014, talking about his SUMR experience in Dr. Richard Smith's Lab. Joseph joined the MSTP in 2017.


The University of Iowa SUMR Program offers an intensive experience for highly motivated undergraduates interested in future combined MD/PhD training for a career as a physician-scientist. The program provides the opportunity to conduct hands-on intensive research with scientists at The University of Iowa.

Participants carry out independent research conducted under the direction of an established mentor in the biomedical sciences. In addition, the program offers weekly seminars emphasizing the intersection of science and medicine, career development seminars, case-based learning sessions and physician-scientist shadowing. Participants gain an appreciation for the role of the physician-scientist in asking pertinent medically related research questions, carrying the results of the work to the patient's bedside. Eligible students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who anticipate graduating with a bachelor’s degree in the biological or physical sciences in the academic year following the summer of planned participation.


2020 SUMR Application is now open

Application deadline has been extended to 8am on February 10, 2020.  Mentor letters are due on February 14, 2020

  • When the SUMR Program description page comes up, click the "Apply" button. 
  • If you are not a current University of Iowa student, click on "Register" under "Login For Other Users" and create a username and password. 
  • You will be able to save an incomplete application and complete it later.
  • Email if you have any issues with the new application system.

SUMR Program Features

  • June 8, 2020 - July 31, 2020
  • 8-week research project conducted in the laboratory of a faculty member in the biomedical sciences.
  • Weekly seminar series - a forum for discussions emphasizing how science and medicine intersect
  • Case-based learning exercise - discussion of mechanisms underlying disease process
  • Career development seminars (e.g. MD/PhD admissions; personal and research statement writing)
  • Physician - scientist shadowing experience (2 to 4 times during the 8-week period)
  • Social and mentoring activities with MD/PhD students
  • Opportunity to present a poster at the Summer Undergraduate Research Conference with other undergraduates on campus (July 29, 2020)


  • $4,150 for the 8-week period
  • Lodging in a University housing facility
  • Travel allowance for transportation to/from Iowa City

Application Requirements

Previous research experience of at least one summer rotation or a semester of work in a laboratory. Labs for bioscience or other courses do not meet this requirement.

  • A completed online application form 
  • A Curriculum Vitae (view sample CV)
  • Transcript(s) from undergraduate institution(s)
    • (Unofficial ones you can print off are fine)
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • At least one letter must come from your primary research mentor.
    • The second letter should come from someone who has worked with you personally or academically (course instructors, academic advisors, or previous employers, volunteer supervisors, etc)


  • Be a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States
  • Be a rising junior or senior (your earliest anticipated graduation should not be before December 2020)
  • Major in biological or physical science (such as biomedical engineering)
  • Prior research experience required (see above)


SUMR Program
University of Iowa MSTP
2206 MERF 
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Phone: (319) 335-8303

Fax: (319) 335-6634


We know that summer research experiences are very important if you are considering a MD/PhD path. Below are lists of other opportunities on campus you may consider applying to in addition to our program. We hope these links are helpful to you.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities in the Health Sciences:

The Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU):