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Minority Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program For Underrepresented Populations

Unfortunately due to funding we will not host SURF students for the summer 2016. The program has been suspended indefinitely. Thank you.  

For other university undergraduate summer program opportunites please visit the summer programs page at the link below.​


Since 1988, the Department of Pharmacology and former Alcohol Research Center (ARC) have recruited three to six students from underrepresented populations to carry out research with our faculty over a ten-week period during the summer. The 2011 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program for Underrepresented Populations was funded in part by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) and the Colorado Clinical Translational Science Institute (CCTSI). This program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to conduct research; present their results; attend seminars; and interact with fellow students, lab members, and faculty. Training in cellular and molecular pharmacology, signal transduction, neuropharmacology, biochemistry, and molecular structure, as well as opportunities in the blossoming field of bioinformatics, is available. Specific questions being researched focus on many areas including cancer biology, cell biology, alcohol and drugs of abuse, learning and memory, genomics, proteomics, lipid maps, and structural biology. A variety of state-of-the-art laboratory techniques including fluorescence microscopy, transgenic models, gene chip arrays, NMR, mass spectrometry, computational pharmacology, and x-ray crystallography are used.

Our Summer Research Program was featured in the Winter 1999 issue of Winds of Change, an American Indian education and opportunity journal. In the article, Dr. Ty Reidhead, a Mandan Indian at the White River Indian Health Service in White River, Arizona, who was one of the first students accepted into the Summer Research Program, reflected upon his experience in the program. Dr. Reidhead said, “The work that I performed, and just the time that I spent that summer, proved to be a valuable and nearly essential part of my undergraduate education.”


Since the inception of this program, over 100 students have conducted mentored summer research projects with Pharmacology Training Faculty.  This program lasts for 10 weeks, starting the last week of May and ending the first week of August.  The stipend is currently $3500.   Completed applications are due in early March.  Please see the links below for more details.

The 2013 participating students were (left to right): Ashley Wengrove, Philip Ord, Michelle Disher, Kendyl Greimann, and Jerry Choi. This past summer Ashley, a senior at the Colorado State University majoring in microbiology, worked with Dr. Freed’s lab examining the biological function of YajL protein in bacteria.  Philip Ord is currently a senior at Regis University majoring in science.  His summer project was to follow up on existing data which shows that HDAC6 knock-out mice are resistant to the muscle-wasting effects of exogenously added angiotensin II. Michelle Disher, recently graduated from the University of Denver with a major in chemistry. She screened a yeast deletion strain library with a novel misfolding reporter to identify new proteins and pathways relevant to protein aggregation. Kendyl Greimann, a junior biology major at Gustavus Adolphus College, had a goal of studying regulation of postsynaptic dendritic spines by Amyloid Beta. She investigated whether activation of the phosphatase Calcineurin anchored to the postsynaptic scaffold protein AKAP79/150 was involved in the signaling pathway responsible for Amyloid Beta induced spine loss that leads to synaptic dysfunction. Lastly Jerry Choi, now a junior biochemistry major at Oberlin College, worked with Dr. Serkova’s lab on going research of Pancreatic Cancer. His summer hypothesis was that a very specific accumulation of amino acids is a metabolic signature of everolimus-induced autophagy, with molecular signs of autophagy being recently reported.


Application Information:

Applications for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program are accepted throughout the year and should be sent to:

Elizabeth Bowen
University of Colorado Denver
Mail Stop 8303, RC1 North
12800 E. 19th Ave., P18-6101
Aurora, CO  80045
Phone:  303-724-3565
Fax:  303-724-3663

Download the application form for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program here.

Application deadline is March 14, 2014.  Please see eligibility for additional information.



 Past SURF Students