Presenting the 61st 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 7 - August 13, 2021
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. A total of 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 am-5 pm. 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.
At the end of the program, each student will prepare an oral and written report of his or her activities for presentation to fellow students and his or her research sponsors.
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.
*** Update: Although it is preferred that applicants are available for the entire 10 weeks, we understand some school districts finish school the first week of the program. In this case an invitee may start June 14 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 2021, we
will offer remote research opportunities instead. We will inform
those still active in the process if the current on-campus plan
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 2020 semester.
- 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 2020 semester.
- U.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or F1, J1 Visa Holders.
- Able to attend the entire seven-week 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
George A Calin, M.D.,Ph.D.
Translational Molecular Pathology
The role of non-codingRNAs in cancer
Perform bioinformatics studies related to non-coding RNAs roles in cancers and perform a literature search and data analyses regarding non-coding RNAs roles in cancers.
Paul J. Chiao, Ph.D.
Molecular and Cellular Oncology
The effect of Nox4 over-expression in pancreatic cells
1. Work with a senior research and learn from a senior researcher by doing the experiments with him or her; 2. Carry out a small experiment by student independently.
Looking for student with motivation. Skill and experience are a plus.
Patrick M. Dougherty, Ph.D.
Pain Medicine Research
Physiologic, anatomic and transcriptomic mechanisms of human neuropathic pain
Participate in studies on human and rodent dorsal root ganglion neurons using a combination of laboratory approaches. The key finding is that only when these neurons are isolated from patients with neuropathic do the cells show ectopic action potential discharges. This indicates that ectopic action potential discharge is a fundamental dysregulation in cell biology that causes neuropathic pain and so if understood could lead to the discovery of new pain therapies.
Will work with well-trained personnel in the lab and so only need keen interest and motivation.
Jean-Berard Durand, M.D.
1) Understanding mechanisms of Recovery of heart function in cancer patients; 2) Pathological characteristics of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors and heart disease
1) Review database and analysis of survival and recovery of heart function; 2) Review pathology specimens and correlate with outcomes.
Vidya Gopalakrishnan, Ph.D..
Immunotherapy for pediatric brain tumors
The project will investigate the cytolytic activity of ex vivo expanded and activated natural killer (NK) cells, a component of the innate immune system, against a panel of pediatric brain tumor cells and comparing their sensitivity based on their molecular subtype.
Must be willing to learn tissue culture techniques related to cultivation of brain tumor cells as well as expanding primary NK cells in a petridish using methods used for expansion of NK cells for clinical application. Must be willing to learn how to perform cytolysis assays and how to prepare a powerpoint presentation and share this information at lab meetings.
Zhongxing Liaou, M.D.
Radiation dose to coronary artery from IMRT or protons
Will use contrasted simulation CT scan images to contour coronary artery in lung cancer patients who received radiation treatment using photons or protons. Will correlate the radiation dose to ischemic cardiac complications in these patients.
Huifang Lu, M.D.
General Internal Medicine, Section of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology
Prevalence and risk factor for osteoporotic fractures in cancer pateints received immunotherapy
The student will be trained to do chart review for data retrieval and then enter the data in an excel file.
Student needs to be able to read fast and learn some medical terminology after being hired.
Seyed Javad Moghaddam, M.D.
Dissecting the mechanisms of lung cancer promotion by airway inflammation
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. Attend weekly laboratory meeting, journals clubs, and lectures. Prepare and present a journal club & final report, and may have 1-2 clinic observation.
Enthusiastic students with basic knowledge and understanding of cell biology and immune system who express an interest in cancer immunology are preferred.
Xiao Ni, M.D.,Ph.D.
Dermatology - Research
Anti-tumor effects of CCR4 antagonists on cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
Record, analyze, and present experiment data and results.
Familiar with tumor cell culture, cell counting, and help with proliferation assay, apoptosis assay, and other experiments when needed.
Bulent Ozpolat, M.D., Ph.D.
Development of Novel Targeted Therapies for breast cancer
We are trying to therapeutically target a new kinase called EF2-kinase in breast cancer using clinically applicable small molecule inhibitors. Using various genetic methods we have demonstrated that EF2K is a critical molecule breast cancer growth, metastasis and tumor growth and validated it as a molecular target in mice models. In this NIH-NCI funded project we are testing potential EF2k inhibitor compounds that we designed and synthesized in breast cancer cells and models.
Student can help us selecting best 2F2k inhibitor compounds by performing cell proliferation assays and if this novel compunds inhibits Ef2k in breast cancer cells..
Victor G. Prieto, M.D.
Evaluation of digital pathology tools applied to diagnosis and research in cutaneous lesions
Familiar with the analysis of digitally scanned slides including use of algorithms.
Maria Suarez-Almazor, M.D.,Ph.D.
Health Services Research
Use of immunotherapy in patients with cancer
Assist in conducting reviews of the literature, synthesizing data, helping in the development of graphs and tabulations of the current project which examines the use of different types of immunotherapies in various cancers, and the toxicities associated with these treatments
Michael J. Tuvim, Ph.D.
Airway mucins exocytosis, granule biogenesis, secretory machinery, Golgi distribution in secretory cells
Individual discrete projects will be defined when student arrives at the lab.
M. James You, M.D.,Ph.D.
Genetics, epigenetics, and biology of lymphoma and leukemia
Learn how to handle tissue culture based mechanistic studies of lymphoma and leukemia, and learn basic skills of genetic modeling of human cancer. Perform PCR genotyping, cell culture and Western blotting.
Basic biology class and interest in biomedical science are required.
Shuxing Zhang, Ph.D.
Design Cancer Therapeutics Using Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence Technologies
The project is to develop novel VR and AI technologies to visualize 3D molecular structures and to rationally design effective cancer therapeutics using the knowledge derived. Will work in a diverse group with cancer biologists, medicinal chemists and computer scientists to achieve the goal of the project.
Background in basic chemistry and biology is preferred, and capability in computer programming is a strong plus.
Current plan is for tradiational on-campus research
Invitees receive a $6,000 stipend for their participation in the 10-week program. 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.
Nov. 1 Applications open.
Jan. 14 Applications close - no new applications accepted.
Jan. 21 All documents due.
Jan. 25 Application review begins.
Feb. 12 Invitations sent.
Monday, June 7 Summer Program begins.
Friday, Aug. 13 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.
- Your 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 day on Jan. 14; 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 nackgrounds 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 school 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 Jan. 14 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.
- You 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 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".