Presenting the 62nd Annual
Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation High School Summer Program
in Biomedical Sciences
sponsored by the School of Health Professions
Program is open ONLY to current Texas high school seniors.
June 6 - August 12, 2022
The program introduces interested and qualified young Texans to a research environment and provides firsthand experiences in the varied career opportunities available at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, the nation's leading cancer research and treatment centers. Up to seven (7) students will be selected to participate in this ten-week program.
Students selected for the program are given a rare opportunity to participate in a research project in one of the biomedical disciplines under the guidance of a full-time member of the MD Anderson faculty. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the basic principles that form the foundation for scientific investigation.
During the program, students work in MD Anderson laboratories five days a week, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The majority of this time is spent doing actual hands-on work that provides the students with a clear knowledge of exactly what it means to be a biomedical researcher as well as an understanding of the discipline required.
The laboratory experience is supplemented by seminars presented by faculty on a wide variety of research topics and by activities exclusive to participants of all the Summer Programs, which may include an abstract, poster, and elevator speech competitions. At the conclusion of the program, participants will share their experiences during a presentation and a celebration luncheon.
Participants will approach their upcoming college term with an increased awareness and confidence in allied health professions career fields.
*** It is preferred that applicants are available for the entire 10 weeks, however, we understand some school districts finish school and host commencement during the first week of the program. In this case an invitee may start the second week and participate the remaining 9 weeks. ***
View the Summer Program YouTube Video
NOTE ON COVID
The Summer Experience Program is
planning for on-campus research projects as we have in the past.
However, if our present situation continues through Summer 2022, we
will offer remote research opportunities instead. We will inform
those still active in the process if the current on-campus plan changes.
Students applying for the Summer Program must meet the following requirements.
- Enrolled in a Texas public, private or charter high school as a senior-level student during the Spring semester prior to program start.
- Will graduate from high school prior to the start of the SHP Summer Program.
- Accepted into a college or university as a college student during the Fall semester immediately following program conclusion.
- U.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or work-eligible Visa Holders.
- Able to attend the entire program; attendees may be excused up to three days to attend new student orientation at their college or university with permission from BOTH the School of Health Professions and the attendee's mentor.
- Previous laboratory and/or research experience is recommended, but NOT required.
The review committee will evaluate each application for a demonstration of
- Academic achievement
- Scientific Aptitude
- Service to community and/or school
Current plan is for tradiational on-campus research
Invitees receive a $6,000 stipend for their participation in the 10-week program ($5,400 if pariticating for 9 weeks). This compensation is meant to subsidize cost of living expenses for students and is considered income and subject to all applicable taxes and fees. All participants must secure their own housing and transportation for the duration of the program. Meals are the reponsibility of the participants unless otherwise noted in the Summer Experience program. Other expenses are the particpant's responsibility.
Contingency plan is for remote research activiites
In the case we are only allowed remote opportunities, invitees will receive $15/hr for part-time work.
Jan A Burger, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Tenured, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine
Project: Biology of minimal residual disease and immunomodulation in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) receiving long-term ibrutinib therapy
Description: The student will work with one of our research scientists on the project, while learning basic laboratory skills, processing of primary blood samples, basics of flow cytometry and sorting, data analysis and interpretation of the results. The student will participate in our weekly lab meetings and scientific discussions. No experience or skills are required.
George A Calin, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Translational Molecular Pathology, Division of Pathology/Lab Medicine
Co-Director, The RNA Interference and non-codingRNA Center
Co-Director, MD/PhD Program, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Project: The roles of noncodngRNAs in cancer
Description: The student will participate hand-on in experiments related to roles of non-codingRNAs. She/he will learn basic techniques starting with DNA, RNA and Protein extraction and qRT-PCR profiling of RNAs. Furthermore, she/he will learn basic bioinformatics techniques need to study the targets of microRNAs and long ncRNAs. Will be involved also in writing a review and also if the experiments performed will be included in an experimental manuscript, she/he will be involved in the specific writing. As science is all about making discoveries, anything new that come out during the research of the specific project, the student will be involved.
Paul J. Chiao, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, Division of Basic Science Research
Patrick M. Dougherty, Ph.D.
H.E.B. Professor in Cancer Research, Department of Pain Medicine, Division of Anesthesiology and Critical Care
Project: Biology of Human and Rodent Nocicpetors
Description: The student role will participate in biochemical, neurophysiological and anatomical studies of dorsal root ganglion neurons taken from human donors and experimental animals. We will train the students in the tasks they will lead.
Jean-Berard Durand, M.D., FACP, FCCP, FACC, FHFSA
Professor, Department of Cardiology, Division of Internal Medicine
Four projects available:
1. Pathological variants determine recovery of heart function of chemotherapy induced heart failure. The project includes data entry and learning pathological changes of cardiac injury. In addition to learn the mechanism of injury to heart muscle. The project includes learning imaging techniques to measure heart function and exposure to cardiac procedures.
2. Recovery of heart function. The project includes data entry, learning cardiac imaging and exposure to cardiac procedures.
3. New grading system to predict recovery of injury in heart patients. Project includes data entry and reviewing both pathology and performing RNA isolation from Human heart samples. Some techniques of Molecular biology will be learned in the lab.
4. Remote monitoring of cardiac rhythms in cancer patients. Data entry and exposure to implantation of remote cardiac devices to identify rhythm disturbances in cancer patients.
Guillermo Garcia-Manero, M.D.
Professor, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine
Chief, Section of Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Department of Leukemia,
Division of Cancer Medicine
Kelly K. Hunt, M.D., FACS, FSSO
Professor & Chair, Department of Breast Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery
Hamill Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Honor of Dr. Richard G. Martin, Sr.
Project: Analysis of biomarkers in estrogen receptor (ER+) breast cancers resistant to CDK4/6 inhibitors (palbociclib)
Description: 1) Clinical - A project for a student in the summer program will entail gathering information on patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and response to therapy from patient records. This data will be used to correlate with biomarkers being assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) from patient samples.
2) Laboratory - The student can assist in using tissue culture models to help delineate mechanisms of resistance to palbociclib. The student will have the opportunity to learn how to perform IHC, tissue culture, and western blot analysis. The student will be expected to read scientific articles and participate in laboratory meetings and journal clubs.
Georgios Karras, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Division of Basic Science Research
Project: Functional variomics of DNA repair
Description: DNA repair genes play major roles in cancer and aging. The goal of this project is to determine the frequency of structural vs. contact mutations in key DNA repair genes in the general population. The student will utilize bioinformatic pipelines to predict the severity of natural genetic alterations in two DNA repair genes and subsequently compare their findings with experimental results from our lab. In addition, the student will utilize molecular biology techniques to clone designed mutants into expression variants for functional validation of their hypotheses in cancer cells. Knowledge of structural biology and prediction algorithms (Alphafold2, FoldX, JPred), bioinformatics (coding and utilization of the MDACC cluster) and molecular biology (PCR, DNA cloning) are preferred.
Stephen Y. Lai, M.D., Ph.D., FACS
Professor, Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Division of Surgery
Project: Targeted therapy on HNSCC and thyroid cancer
Description: Role in the project: 1. Students will learn the basic of technique of tissue culture including splitting the cells and feeding the cells under a sterile condition as foundation for all laboratory research. 2. Students will learn the basic tool including DNA and RNA preparation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), gel purification of PCR product, and prepare purified DNA for sequencing. 3, Students will learn the basic laboratory techniques may include but not limit to western blotting, MTT assay, and documentation of lab results.
Skills and experiences needed: 1. Basic knowledge of biology and chemistry. 2. Basic computer skill of data recording and analysis using software such as Microsoft office and Photoshop.
Valerae O. Lewis, M.D.
Professor, Department of Orthopedic Oncology, Division of Surgery
Director, Musculoskeletal Oncology Fellowship, Department of Department of Orthopaedic Oncology, Division of Surgery
Project: Limb length discrepancy and reversal after hemipelvectomy
Description: Student will conduct chart reviews; no particular skills needed; will also participate in clinical activities around this procedure.
Sadhan Majumder, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Genetics, Division of Basic Science Research
Deputy Chair, Department of Genetics
Project: Mechanisms in brain tumors
Description: The student will learn how to culture, grow, and maintain brain tumor stem cells. She/he will also learn molecular biology techniques to discover mechanism that maintain tumor properties of these cells.
Timothy J. McDonnell, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor with Tenure, Department of Hematopathology, Division of Pathology/Lab Medicine
Seyed Javad Moghaddam, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine
Director, Immunology Graduate Program, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Project: Reprogramming Pro-Tumor Lung Microenvironment for Prevention and Treatment of Lung Cancer
Description: Student will have daily hands-on training in the lab with PI and his research team members in order to learn: 1) to design hypothesis-driven experimental plan, 2) to perform related laboratory techniques, 3) to analyze and interpret data, and 4) to prepare graphs and figures. He/She will also attend weekly laboratory meetings, journals clubs, and lectures. The student will also prepare and present a journal club & final report and may have 1-2 clinic observations.
Xiao Ni, M.D. ,Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology - Research, Division of Internal Medicine
Project: CCR4 antagonists in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL)
Description: This project is to test our hypothesis that overexpression of CCR4 on CTCL cells attributes to cell chemotaxis to the skin, enhanced cell signaling, and cell outgrowth, therefore CCR4 antagonists can inhibit cell chemotaxis, cell outgrowth, and further tumor development of CTCL. The student in 2022 summer program will participate in this ongoing project and learn assays to evaluate effects of CCR4 antagonists on cell proliferation, cell chemotaxis, and colony-forming in CTCL cell lines in vitro.
The students who have interests in biology, biochemistry, and medicine or/and have previously exposed/shadowed in the biology research lab are encouraged.
Victor G. Prieto, M.D., Ph.D.
Department Chair, Department of Pathology, Division of Pathology/Lab Medicine
Professor, Department of Pathology, Division of Pathology/Lab Medicine
Project: Development of an computational algorithm to determine the percentage positive of a proliferation marker (Ki67) in metastatic breast carcinoma.
Description: The study will involve reviewing glass slides and scanned slides to determine an algorithm that provides quantification of the number of carcinoma cells that express Ki67. Under my supervision, the student will review both the glass slides and the scanned slides of a series of cases. We will use a commercially available program and compare it with an algorithm developed by our institution.. The student will require basic knowledge of pathology (use of a microscope) and use of a computer to analyze the digital slides.
Jihong Wang, Ph.D., FAAPM
Professor, Department of Radiation Physics, Division of Radiation Oncology
Gary J. Whitman, M.D.
Professor with Tenure, Department of Breast Imaging, Division of Diagnostic Imaging
Medical Director, Mobile Mammography Program, Department of Breast Imaging, Division of Diagnostic Imaging
Project: Ultrasound-Guided Cyst Aspiration: Which Cysts Should be Aspirated and Sent to Cytology and/or Microbiology?
Description: The student will perform literature reviews and retrospective chart reviews. Also, the student will be involved in the review of imaging studies. No prior research experience is required, and no special skills are required. The student should have solid skills in Powerpoint and Excel.
The objectives of the study are: 1. To evaluate cysts found on breast imaging and to determine the efficacy of sending aspirate samples for cytologic and/or microbiologic evaluation. 2. To evaluate the symptoms, including pain, nipple discharge, and the presence of palpable abnormalities, associated with cyst findings and to determine the efficacy of sending aspirate samples to cytology and/or microbiology. 3. To influence guidelines regarding cyst aspiration and promote optimal management.
M. James You, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Hematopathology, Division of Pathology/Lab Medicine
Deputy Department Chair, Department of Hematopathology, Division of Pathology/Lab Medicine
Nov. 1 Applications open.
Jan. 20 Applications close - no new applications accepted.
Jan. 27 All documents due for all applicants.
Jan. 31 Application review begins.
Feb. 14 Invitations sent.
Monday, June 6 Summer Program begins.
Friday, Aug. 12 Summer Program ends.
New Summer Experience Account Form
- Use the first name and family (sur, last) that is on your driver's license, passport, or other government-issued identification card.
- After submission, check your email for your verification email. Check your JUNK/SPAM folder and keep this email as a reference.
- You will need your Discover ID and Password to login.
- Click Step 1: Application Form then acknowledge and continue.
- Now you are ready to fill out the application and upload your documents.
You MUST complete the pre-application by the end of the deadline day; any applications completed after this time will not be accepted.
Pre-Application for a Research Appointment
- Biographical Information
- Fill out as required.
- Citizen Data
- If you select USA, then select "No" if you were born in the USA or its territories. Otherwise, select "Yes" if you were born in another country and went through the naturalization process to become a citizen.
- If you select another country, then you must also select your country of permanent residency.
- Fill out as required.
- Voluntary Information Enter your birthdate as we have to report any minors attending our program. All other information is optional, but we appreciate any data you can provide.
- Academic History
- Add each high school you have attended.
- For Academic Institution, select "Not Listed" and for Other, enter the complete school name.
- For Degree Type and Major Degree of Study, enter 'Not Listed".
- For Degree Awarded/Expected, select "Yes" and for Date Degree Awarded/Expected, enter your anticipated graduation date or GED certification.
- Employment & Training Experience You do not have to input information here as your curriculum vita (resume) will include this information. Type "YES" and hit Confirm.
- Academic Awards and Honors You do not have to input information here as your curriculum vita (resume) will include this information. Type "YES" and hit Confirm.
- Additional Demographics and Future Plan
- SECTION I: DEMOGRAPHICS
- This section is optional.
- However, MD Anderson collects data regarding students from disadvantaged backgrounds and first-year college students.
- We appreciate if you answer Are you from a Disadvantaged Background and Are you the first individual in your family to attend college (answer "Yes" or "No").
- SECTION II: OTHER INFORMATION
- We understand this is still too early in the process for you to have made lodging and transportation arrangements (unless if you live in and around Houston).
- Select "Undecided" for now if you do not feel comfortable answering at this time.
- SECTION III: CURRENT & FUTURE ACADEMIC INFORMATION
- Your school registrar should be able to provide your most recent overall GPA on a 4.0 scale (some schools provide it on their transcripts).
- Check "Fall 2020" for degree-granting program
- Select "High School Student" for SPRING 2021 academic designation.
- Select the appropriate Undergraduate designation for FALL 2021 academic designation.
- SECTION I: DEMOGRAPHICS
- Disclosure Statement Initial each box.
Submit the Pre-Application prior to the end of the deadline day to be eligible to upload necessary documents to complete the formal application.
Discover Dashboard Click Step 2: Upload Documents.
- General documents instructions
- Save your CV and Personal Statement as .pdf documents prior to upload.
- If your school only provides a hard copy (paper) of your unofficial transcript then
- Use a scanner to save the document as a .pdf.
- If you do not have access to a scanner, then use a scanner app on your mobile device to create a .pdf document. Do NOT take a picture and upload the photo.
- Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Résumé
- Should be as long as it needs to be, however, be mindful of formatting, grammar, spelling, and syntax.
- Do NOT include a picture.
- Include at least the following sections: academic history (school attended), employment (most recent first), membership/leadership in organizations, honors and awards, and volunteerism/service.
- Personal Statement
- Download and follow the provided instructions
- Step 1: Format
- We are strict on work count - stay within the requested range.
- Do NOT select a mentor. We will match our selected participants.
- Step 2: Personal Statement Topics
- Answer each of the questions within your statement.
- THE PERSONAL STATEMENT ELIMINATES MOST OF THE APPLICANTS FROM FINAL CONSIDERATION. Applicants that receive the lowest scores typically do not answer the six questions within their statement.
- Step 3: Mentor Choices Do NOT complete this section as it is for a separate program.
- Unofficial Transcript of Highest Degree
- Upload your most recent UNOFFICIAL high school transcript from your school registrar.
- We will not accept a transcript from the end of your junior year not will we accept a printout from your school account.
To complete your formal application, we require TWO (2) letters of recommendation.
Discover Dashboard Click Request Letters of Recommendation.
- Your references MUST be educational or professional (NOT a personal reference).
- Although not required, at least one letter should be from a past mentor/supervisor/manager from a laboratory/research program OR a high school/dual-credit science teacher - either of which can speak to your science/laboratory/research skills and experiences.
- PRIOR to Adding Provider
- Ask your chosen references to write you a letter of recommendation.
- Send them your CV and transcript.
- Let them know they will receive an email with instructions and a link to submit their letter.
- Inform them of the requirements of the letter, "must be on official letterhead with original signatures, reflect the relationship to the applicant, and speak to the applicant's experiences and abilities".