Life Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Program (LSSURP)

LSSURP 2024 Application Portal is closed

Since 1989, the University of Minnesota LSSURP has offered life sciences research programs for undergraduate students who have a goal of enrolling in Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D programs. LSSURP is supported by the University of Minnesota Medical School. The programs begin with a joint orientation weekend, followed by participation in a 10-week research project under the direction of a University of Minnesota faculty mentor and numerous special activities focused on professional development as well as social interaction. The summer research experience concludes with a poster symposium and banquet in August.

LSSURP has given students that have been traditionally underrepresented in the life sciences the experience and training that enhances their ability to pursue a career in research. This represents a long-standing commitment to increasing the impact and quality of life science research at the University of Minnesota, which is strengthened when there is diversity in our faculty and students. We strongly encourage students whose backgrounds encompass diversity in culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, and economic background to apply for our summer research positions.

Objectives of the LSSURP Program are to increase the:
- Number of undergraduates who earn graduate or professional degrees in life sciences disciplines
- Diversity of professionals working in life sciences fields in business, industry, government, and academia
- Diversity of the graduate student population in life sciences disciplines at the University of Minnesota

To apply, please first click the here to register. The registration link will allow you to create a username and password for logging in to the application portal. This will allow you to securely save and continue work prior to final submission. After you create a username and password, please click the LSSURP Application Portal link to begin and complete application

If you have any questions about the application please see the Frequently Asked Questions page, then email

LSSURP's mission is to provide high quality research education and mentored training in the life sciences to undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Research Program Areas for Undergraduate Students to Participate In


The CREATE program is an integrated summer experience for talented, motivated undergraduate students interested in a cancer research career. Trainees will conduct independent cancer biology research under the mentorship of a CREATE program faculty mentor and engage in a weekly research seminar with other CREATE students. The research experience will be coupled with a Cancer Education Workshop that will provide an overview of cancer biology and development of key professional development skills.


The HLB program places students in labs across a wide number of disciplines including: biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, immunology, physiology, pharmacology, stem cell biology.


The Minnesota Craniofacial and Oral health Research Experience (MnCORE) aims to introduce new generations of researchers to questions in craniofacial, oral health, and dental research. The research strengths of this training program include immunology/cancer, biomaterials, bone biology, and microbiology. MnCORE has four integrated components based on its foundational ten-week residential summer research and career development program: 1) completion of a research project, 2) weekly group seminars, 3) introduction to oral biology and dental career paths, and 4) development of professional skills. Students interested in research careers, clinical careers, and combined DDS/PhD career paths are all welcome to apply.


The PNI summer program provides mentored training on the interactions of drugs of abuse with the nervous and immune systems, and integrates our understanding of these physiological interactions with their behavioral counterparts. The PNI summer program is composed of an intensive laboratory-based research experience that entails close interaction with and mentorship by a program faculty member (n=31) that focuses on drug abuse research. This laboratory work is supplemented by a comprehensive educational curriculum, which includes seminars by program faculty on topics in biomedical research, ethics, and laboratory safety, and a focused student research poster symposium.


The Neuroscience Program features a full ten weeks of research experience in one of the many neuroscience laboratories at the University of Minnesota.  For the summer program, there are two topics to choose from: neurodegenerative disorders and drug addiction.  Although it helps to have taken some chemistry and biology coursework, our students traditionally come from a variety of backgrounds. We provide a brief classroom “Introduction to Neuroscience” to ensure all our students have a useful level of background knowledge to supplement the laboratory experience they enjoy. In addition, there are Neuroscience seminars and presentations to supplement the students’ research experiences.  The Neuroscience Program is funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


If you are interested in pursuing a combined MD/PhD degree and you meet the requirements below, you should select PreMSTP as one of your options on the application. Those accepted will spend 10 weeks in the lab of a physician-scientist, have the opportunity to shadow their lab mentor or another physician-scientist in clinical activities, and have regular interactions with current MSTP students. Competitive applicants for the Pre-MSTP program will have: 1) completed their junior year of undergraduate studies at the time of entrance into the pre-MSTP; 2) a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5; and 3) a letter of recommendation from a research mentor that speaks to your qualifications for the MD/PhD career track. 


Training Research Educators in Minnesota (TREM) program is an NIH funded Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA). TREM trains the next generation of faculty through a balanced 3-year postdoctoral training program in both research and teaching. Teacher training is conducted in local community colleges with a historic background of serving underrepresented communities. Each year six underrepresented minority students are competitively chosen from the community colleges to take part in LSSURP, conducting research under the mentorship of the postdoctoral scholars and TREM research mentors.


  • Applicant must be a citizen, a permanent resident of the U.S. or its possessions, or an international student on an F1 Visa.
  • Must be an undergraduate student attending an accredited 2 or 4 year institution full time
  • Must be interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. in the Life Sciences
    Applicant must be able to commit full time to our program. All students are required to attend every day of the program and to work for a full day. You will not be allowed to take time off during the work week for family vacations, classes, part-time jobs, or other appointments.
How to Apply

The online application has 8 sections including demographics, academic, placement preferences, faculty recommendations, a personal statement, a biographical sketch, a diversity statement, and a place to upload an unofficial transcript. Each section must be completed before you move onto the next. You are able to select up to 3 programs to apply to and rank them in order of preference.

To begin the application, you must first register at this link. Pease register only once. Once you register, you will receive an email with a link to the online application.

Next, complete the online application at this link. You will not have access to your application once submitted, if you login again, you will only see a blank application.


Admission Process

The LSSURP receives more than 400 applications each year and from that group, around 70 students are selected.

Some LSSURP programs (see list below) admit on a rolling basis, so early submission of your application is encouraged.

Admits on Rolling basis
Heart, Lung, and Blood
Cancer Research, Education and Training Experience

Does NOT admit on Rolling basis
Neuroscience and Neuroscience Addiction
Cognitive Neuroscience

Participant Events

Seminar Series and Professional Development Workshops
Responsible Conduct of Research
Personal Statement Series
Building a Professional Network
Interview Series 

Graduate Programs Recruitment
Life Sciences Graduate Programs Fair
M.D./Ph.D. Program Luncheon

Community Building Activities
Goldy’s bowling and pizza event
Pay if Forward – Sheridan Story
Take your mentor to lunch event
All programs Picnic
Padelford Boat Ride

Poster Symposiums

Frequently Asked Questions

Expand all

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can’t complete my application in one sitting?

If you need to complete your application at a later time, close out of your browser (Quit the program).  Your information will be saved where you left off by pressing the "Save & Continue" button at any time.  To get back into the application, click on "Complete Online Application" again and login using the same email and password that you registered with.  If you still have difficulties, you might need to clear your browsers cache.

Can I apply to more than one LSSURP Program?

If you will have graduated by the time the summer program starts, you are no longer eligible for the LSSURP.

Who should write my reference letters?

We strongly prefer letters from someone who you did research under (preferably a faculty member) and it can be from any institution that they are affiliated with. Letters from faculty members that have taught your classes are also encouraged. Letters from high school teachers/friends are not advised. We are looking for someone who can write a letter that can speak to your ability to do research, work well in a team, knows your career and educational goals, and can summarize your skills to be successful in the program. However, we don't decline letters from anyone, so if you feel that someone not in these categories would provide you with the best letter, we will accept a letter from them.

How many applications does the LSSURP Receive and how many students are accepted?

The LSSURP receives ~450 applications on average and accepts an average of ~75 students per summer.

Is the LSSURP only for underrepresented students?

The LSSURP is not exclusively for underrepresented students, we accept all students from all backgrounds. We do wish to help the scientific community become more diverse and therefore often accept students from these backgrounds.

Is there a GPA requirement?

We review applications holistically, meaning the personal statement and diversity statement can compensate for the difference in GPA.

What does the average day look like for an LSSURP student?

LSSURP is a full time summer undergraduate research opportunity. This means that the students work full time in the lab (40 hours a week) and we have additional seminars and activities planned a couple evenings throughout the week every week. There are no set hours for the lab, each lab runs different. During the first week of the LSSURP, the LSSURP student determines what hours are best with the PI (8-4, 9-5, etc.).

Can I participate in LSSURP more than one year?

Yes, we’ve had many participants participate for more than one year. However, acceptance is not automatic and a completed application must be submitted for review.

Is there an application fee for LSSURP?

No, there is no fee to apply for LSSURP.

Will I be compensated for participating in LSSURP?

Yes, the LSSURP pays a $4,000 stipend, pays for travel expenses, and room and board for the summer for most programs.

What faculty members are involved in LSSURP?

We have many different faculty members involved with mentoring LSSURP students. The exact mentor list changes on a yearly basis. Here are the 2020 mentors and their research for the Pre-MSTP program. Additionally, you can look at the poster titles for the LSSURP participants from 2019, and their faculty mentor’s name is included. View past LSSURP participants

Will my travel expenses be covered if I live out of state?

Yes, most LSSURP programs will cover roundtrip travel to and from your institution or hometown.

If I live near campus do I have to stay in the dorms?

No, it is highly recommended though. Students who live in the dorms tend to form a more tight knit community. Also, housing funds cannot be transferred, meaning that we can’t use the money that would’ve been spent on the dorm on your rent.

Do I get to pick the person I am staying with in the dorms?

No, the University matches roommates.

Will food be provided for us throughout the program?

Yes! Most programs have an unlimited meal plan plus ~$280 in flexdine. Flexdine is money that can be spent at on campus venues. The programs that don’t have a meal plan get $400 in flexdine. Additionally, commuter meals are available. These allow our participants to pack a lunch from the dorm to bring with them for later. In addition to the meal plan and flexdine, many of our programmed events include food. For example, our two bioethics sessions have catered Jimmy John's and Chipotle.

What other events will we be participating in during LSSURP?

We have many different events. A professional development series, ethics seminars, personal statement critiques, a weekly meeting in a small group to practice your presentation skills, and many community building events like an on campus orientation and a picnic. To see a full list, please go to the participant events page.

Do I have to have done research previously to be considered for acceptance to the LSSURP program?

No, you do not have to have research experience prior to LSSURP.

How to Apply

To apply, please first click the LSSURP Registration button below to register. The registration link will allow you to create a username and password for logging in to the application portal. This will allow you to securely save and continue work prior to final submission. After you create a username and password, please click the LSSURP Application Portal link to begin and complete application.

Summer 2024 Program Information

Program Dates: 
June 1 – August 10, 2024

Application Deadline: 
February 16, 2024 at Midnight

Program Quick Facts
  • 10 week research program
  • Research project based on student interest
  • Approximately 60 participants per year
  • Provides stipend, housing and travels

Important Dates

November 1st

Application Opens.

February 16th, at Midnight

Final Deadline for all application materials. 

February 18th – April 15th

Notification of all applicants in one of the following categories;

  1. The applicant has been accepted

  2. The applicant is an alternate for the position

  3. The applicant will not be considered

May 15th 

Final decisions sent to all remaining alternates.

June 1st – August 10th

LSSURP Summer Program

Unique Value of the LSSURP Program for Undergraduate Researchers

In addition to the research activities, each student participates in a small peer group seminar where each student describes his/her project and reports on progress.

Community-building activities include an orientation event prior to the beginning of the summer, seminars about ethical and professional issues in the research environment, as well as numerous weekend social activities. At the end of the summer, each student prepares and presents a professional quality poster at the LSSURP poster symposium, which is followed by a closing program. During their summer of involvement students experience the culture of laboratory or field research in a research-oriented academic community.

These experiences often have a significant impact on subsequent professional and/or career choices. Through participation in LSSURP students can personally observe and experience the University of Minnesota and thereby become familiar with the outstanding academic opportunities as well as the exceptional quality of life available in Minnesota.