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First-Year Medical Student Summer Research

First year student summer research applications are due on May 7, 2021, and a meeting concerning summer research opportunities for first year students will be held each November. Summer research stipends are awarded in the amount of $6,459 per student, as of June 1, 2021. Stipends are paid on a semi-monthly basis, on the 15th day of the month and on the last day of the month. To be fair to all medical students, this stipend amount is in line with the National Institutes of Health pay level for a predoctoral stipend for research.

Applications for summer research fellowships are available electronically for download below.

Dates to Remember

Dates: Event Description:
October 2020 to March 2021 Meet with 4-5 faculty who you may be interested in working with for a summer project
Mid-March to early April 2021 Decide upon summer project and mentor
April 23, 2021 Deadline to submit application to Department Thesis Chair (see link to list below)
May 7, 2021 Deadline to submit application to the Office of Student Research
Early June 2021 Applications are reviewed in the OSR and students are notified via email of funding awards

Planning Sessions

Use the following table to plan for finding a summer research mentor and selecting a research project. For more information on time and location, check your schedule in BlueDogs.

Date: Event Description:
October 2, 2020: Introduction to the Yale Thesis Course & Career Tracks in Academic Medicine
November 6, 2020:
How to Choose an Excellent Research Project & Mentor
November 11, 2020: How to Choose an Excellent Research Project & Mentor
February 3, 2021: Nuts & Bolts for Summer Research: HIC, EHS, HIPAA
March 3, 2021: Incorporating NIH Requirements into Your Summer Research: Sex and Gender, Research Across the Lifespan, Rigor & Reproducibility
March 15, 2021: Establishing a Health Equity Framework into Research
March 29, 2021: Finalizing Summer Research Plans + Open Discussion/Q&A
(date TBA): Research "Speed Dating" Event
April 7, 2021:
Developing a Study Protocol


How to Find a Faculty Research Mentor

In recognition of the fact that each student’s research interest is unique, there is no one way to find a project or mentor. The topic of finding a research mentor is introduced in the SI course during the fall of the first year and is supported in numerous ways. Common methods include use of the Directory of Faculty Research Interests, available at https://medicine.yale.edu/dfri/. This directory is searchable using Medical Search Headings (MeSH), by keywords, or by individual faculty names. Another method is by searching the list of PIs and projects maintained by OSR which is available upon request, and by reviewing the database of mentored projects conducted by students in prior years. These lists are updated in real time and contain information regarding projects available to YSM students. Searching the research headings available on departmental and program websites is a method which some students have found very helpful. Search engines are another approach. Other students have found it useful to meet with the thesis chair of the department(s) in which they are considering research to find out about the different research groups working in a given domain. OSR arranges mentor discussion panels throughout the year, as do some student interest groups and departments. Upper year students are another important resource in this search. Mentor searches conducted after the clinical years commonly incorporate role models and experiences gained during clinical rotations.

It is recommended that students perform a preliminary mentor search and select between 4-6 individuals with whom to make preliminary contact. Students should then reach out via email requesting appointments to learn about current research and discuss possible research projects. Students should attend research group meetings and meet with research team members in the absence of the mentor to gain insight into the group’s culture, climate, and operations. Medical students may use search engines to assess a given mentor’s work and productivity to determine both the alignment of research interests and the likelihood of being able to publish their work. In light of the fact that the mentor is expected to provide financial support for all components of the student’s research, depending on the type of research to be pursued, it is highly recommended that students work with a faculty mentor with sufficient extramural support. Therefore, medical students can leverage a federal listing of NIH grant recipients available at the NIH RePORTER website (https://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm) to evaluate the mentor’s funding. To expand the pool of mentors and projects available to students, OSR allows the development of mentoring teams comprised of junior and senior investigators.

Reading the evaluations of former students who have worked with that mentor and speaking with current or former students can be very helpful in making a decision. Finally, the student should then meet again with the chosen faculty member to develop a proposal for the project. The faculty member should make every effort to orient the student to a practical research question that can be answered within the available time and, to the extent possible, should encourage the student to contribute to the project by formulating an independent and original question.

The Scientific Inquiry Course offers extensive instruction and support for students in their search for a mentor. These include formal didactics, workshops, and speaker panels. Finally, Drs. Chaudhry and Herzog are available to discuss options with individual students either during weekly office hours or at a mutually agreed upon time and location (virtual or in person).

External Funding Opportunities

Listed below are links for additional sources of funding for summer research for 1st year medical students. It is important that you read the requirements carefully for each fellowship, as they have different eligibility requirements and deadlines.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are planning to apply for summer research fellowships from funding sources outside of Yale, please contact Donna Carranzo at donna.carranzo@yale.edu at least 7 days before the fellowship deadline, as there may be additional forms required by Yale's Office of Sponsored Projects that need to be completed before an application can be submitted to the funding agency.

The Yale Center for International and Professional Experience keeps a searchable database of Fellowships and Funding.

Selected External Opportunities

Special Opportunity to Consider:

The Jack & Francine Levin Yale-at-MBL Student Research Fellowships
Summer 2019 at MBL group of students
MBL participants Summer 2018

The Jack and Francine Levin Yale-at-MBL Student Research Fellowships were established in 2018 by YSM alumnus Jack Levin, MD 1957, and his wife, Francine Levin, to encourage Yale undergraduates and medical students to engage in biomedical research early in their medical school careers. Located on Cape Cod, three hours from New Haven, MBL is a locus for scientists from around the globe pursuing research in a wide variety of fields directly relevant to human health. Discoveries by investigators at or affiliated with the MBL have produced more than 50 Nobel prizes in physiology or medicine since 1920. The MBL, an affliliate of the University of Chicago, provides access to, and training in, super-resolution and high-resolution microscopy and experimental techniques in cellular and molecular physiology, genetics, and other fields. Research across the MBL focuses on a number of distinctive themes, including:

  • new discoveries emerging from the study of novel marine organisms, encompassing research in regenerative biology, neuroscience, sensory physiology, and comparative evolution and genomics;
  • the study of microbiomes and microbial diversity and ecology in a variety of ocean and terrestrial habitats;
  • cutting-edge imaging and computation, making the unseen visible to illuminate cellular function and to explore biological mechanisms; and
  • organismal adaptation and resilience in the face of global climate change and rapidly changing ecosystems.