MD Program

Contact Medical Student Research Program

1213 MERF
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2600
Phone:(319) 335-9449
Fax: (319) 335-8049

  • Summer Research Fellowships

    The Director of the Medical Student Research Program is Neil A. Segal, MD, MS, CSCS. The Assistant Director is Judi Lehman. Please contact Judi Lehman or Stephanie Whitlock if you have questions.

    Summer Research Fellowship is an opportunity for medical students (M-1) and to students accepted for admission (pre-M-1). The purpose of the Student Research Fellowship program is to interest medical students in research and to acquaint them with career possibilities in academic medicine. This fellowship is 12 weeks long and offers students the opportunity to participate directly in the investigation of a scientific question under the supervision of a faculty mentor and to become familiar with the processes involved in defining a problem, formulating a hypothesis, evaluating its significance, designing experiments for its solution, and in interpreting the data generated. Student summer research is performed under the direction of a faculty mentor at the University of Iowa. Students identify a mentor and plan, write, and submit a scientific proposal. The proposal is reviewed by a panel of scientists.  The awarding of fellowships is a competitive process, however the success rates are usually high (we typically fund 85-90% of the proposals submitted). 

    Preference is given to proposals that are conducted here at the University of Iowa, rather than at other institutions or in a foreign country.  If you plan to submit a proposal for research in a foreign country, you must first contact the program for initial screening.  Information about the summer fellowship program is announced early in the winter of the preceding year. Interested students can search for possible research opportunities and identify potential faculty mentors who are interested in sponsoring a student using the search engine associated with the faculty mentor database. To participate, students must be in good academic standing and not currently held back to repeat a class. The fellowship requires a commitment of at least 10-12 weeks during the summer. The stipend for the fellowship is $5,500 for a 12-week period and $4590 for a 10-week period.

    Guidelines and Tips for writing a successful proposal (i.e. one that gets adequate reviews and is therefore funded).

    • Find an outstanding scientific mentor. What makes an outstanding mentor?
      1.   They have funding from the government or other agencies to do research. One way to check on this is to: a) ask the mentor about the funding of their research or b) look them up on the
            site http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm .  Simply enter their name into the 'principal investigator' field and see what the government has funded them for.
      2.   They have a Ph.D. or have undergone research training.
      3.   They have a long list of publications.
      4.   A clinician (M.D.) with no research training, funding, or solid publication record is less likely to have high quality research for you to work on.
    • Write an outstanding proposal
      1.   Make sure it is well-organized and has details about the science of the project (rationale, hypotheses, methods, statistical analysis).
      2.   The most successful applications are a true 'joint effort' between the mentor and the student.


    As soon as a student has identified a mentor that information must be sent by email to Judi Lehman. Once the student has identified a mentor and possible research project, the student working with the mentor, must write a brief research proposal which is submitted online. The application is due February 3 (6:00 pm) for M-1 students and March 3, 6 p.m. for March 3, 6 p.m. for pre-M1 students admitted prior to March 1 and April 1 for those admitted in March.    NOTE:  THE SECOND DEADLINE FOR PRE-M1'S HAS BEEN SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE; APPLICATIONS FOR Pre-M1's is CLOSED.

    PRE-M1 STUDENTS APPLYING TO THE SUMMER RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM NEED TO EMAIL JUDI LEHMAN BEFORE SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION. Research proposals are reviewed and successful students are usually notified within four weeks of the application submission deadline. The program also encourages the student to apply for outside funding opportunities as the student may be eligible to receive up to $500 student increase and up to $1,000 in travel support to academic conference(s).

    Other Clinical and Research Opportunities are located at the Careers in Medicine (CiM) website at the AAMC. Medical students have free access to CiM using your AAMC ID and password.