Summer Research Internships for Undergraduates


AspirnautTM Summer Research Internships are hands-on and mentored laboratory experiences for undergraduate students interested in a career in biomedical research. The program is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and recruitment is targeted to underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, Native Americans and those from geographically- and economically-disadvantaged backgrounds as defined by the federal government.*

There are two principle aims for this program:

  1. An intense research experience for undergraduate students involving crafting of questions, designing and conducting experiments, and presenting and arguing results on the topic of “Pathobiology of Diabetic Nephropathy.”
  2. To teach undergraduate interns how to be mentors and inspirational role models for elementary and middle school students at rural schools.

Participants reside on the campus of Vanderbilt University and conduct research activities at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Research assignments are coordinated under the direction of Billy Hudson, Ph.D., Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Matrix Biology. Interns are fully engaged in their research project and meet regularly to discuss their projects with scientific mentors and to interact with guest speakers. Interns prepare an abstract and present their poster at the NIDDK/KUH Summer Research Conference.


Summer research interns receive a stipend of $500 per week for the ten-week period. This salary is intended to cover all intern costs associated with participation in the program including travel to and from Nashville. The salary will be pro-rated for any days/weeks not completed. Housing is available in Vanderbilt University campus dormitories at a rate of $31 per day.

Eligibility & Application

Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale and who are in good standing at their primary institution are eligible. Applicants should have already completed biology, chemistry or biochemistry. Rising seniors should have at least one semester remaining of their undergraduate education at the start of the summer program. Applicants who have successfully completed high school and who are matriculating into a 4-year college/university in the fall are also eligible if they have taken an advanced course in biology, chemistry, or physics in high school. Candidates should demonstrate interest in/potential to pursue graduate study (i.e., Ph.D., M.D., M.S.) toward an advanced degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields and in biomedical research. Interns must be a documented U.S. citizen or non-citizen national or permanent resident in possession of an alien registration receipt card (I-551) or other legal document of such status. International citizens studying in the United States with an F-1 visa are not eligible for these spots. Individuals seeking asylum or refugees are not eligible. Interns must have valid, current health insurance at the start and duration of the program.

* NIH groups that are considered to be in need of special recruitment and retention plans in order to diversify the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences workforce: 1) Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2007, p. 262) and those groups shown to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis: American Indians or Alaska Natives, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders; 2) Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; 3) Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as: (a) from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs ( These individuals have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or have received any of the following student loans: Health Professional Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for disadvantaged Student Program; or have received scholarships from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need; and (b) Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain ruralor inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career. 

Application for Aspirnaut™ Undergraduate Discovery Science Experience in Renal Biology and Disease -Summer 2018 is Open!


Students attending Berea College should apply through the following button below:

Application for Berea /Aspirnaut™ Hal Moses Summer Research Internships – Summer 2018 is Open!

Monday, May 28 –  Saturday, August 4, 2018 (10 weeks)

Application Deadline for Summer 2018 is 11:59PM CST on December 31, 2017. Only official transcripts will be accepted until January 15, 2018.

For general AspirnautTM Summer Research Internship questions please contact us here.


  • 69 undergraduates have completed 90 internships.

  • 70% of AspirnautTM undergraduate interns pursue an advanced degree in STEM-related fields.

  • 25% intend to remain engaged in biomedical research following their internship.