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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF) Award

SURFs at Mini Symposium 2016.jpg

2016 SURF fellows at the 2nd Annual Mini Symposium held on August 4, 2016.  From left to right: Bailey Englund, Lisa Gutgesell, Jennifer Diaz, Brian Kim, and Alex Infante

The College of Pharmacy at UIC invites undergraduate students to apply for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. The objective of this program is to introduce undergraduate students to biomedical research in order to heighten interest in science as a career and increase the number of young scientists entering the biomedical research disciplines.

The SURF program is located on UIC’s West Campus, in the center of the Illinois Medical District--one of the largest concentrations of advanced health care facilities in the nation-- and just minutes from downtown Chicago. Our location gives us convenient access to a diverse range of cutting-edge research, collaborators and patient populations.

The SURF Program is funded by an institutional award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

Program Dates:

The SURF program runs for 10 weeks, starting on Thursday, June 1, 2017 and ending on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.

SURF Program Description

ASPET-sponsored SURF program is for undergraduate students interested in biomedical research.  Students will work on independent research projects in the laboratories of their faculty mentors.  Before beginning work, students will attend relevant laboratory safety training.  In addition to individual mentoring, the program offers number of enrichment activities:  research seminars, advanced research instrumentation workshops, career day at a local pharmaceutical company, instructions on how to prepare a scientific presentation, practice talks and  a mini-symposium where all the participants present their research projects in front of the College audience.  Download a sample schedule for details of 2016 program.  SURF participants will receive compensation of $3,000 for the 10 week period. 

The 2017 Application Cycle is now closed. The application for next year will open in November 2017.

Meet this year's SURF Fellows:

SURF Fellow Undergraduate Institution Mentor/Lab Project
Sarah Colon Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus Shura Mankin/Nora Vazquez-Laslop

Mechanism of action of ribosomal antibiotics

Antonio Hernandez UIC Brian Murphy

Discovery of antibiotics from the Great Lakes cultivatable sponge microbiome.

Andres Ruiz

Pennsylvania State University Les Hanakahi Visualizing 3' terminal DNA-protein crosslinks in human cells
Zohra Sattar Northern Illinois University Terry Moore Development of Stapled Peptide Probes for the Estrogen Receptor/Coactivator Interaction
Allysen Schreiber Wake Forest University Debra Tonetti Characterization of novel therapeutics in endocrine resistant breast cancer cell and tumor models

Contact Information

Please contact us by e-mail to

Previous Recipients

To see the previous recipients, mentors, projects and Mini Symposium photos, please visit the Previous SURF Recipients page

Program Mentors

Mentor Research Area

Joanna Burdette

Ovarian cancer; Drug discovery
aaa_eustaquio.jpg Alessandra Eustaquio Drug discovery and development; Biosynthesis; Synthetic biology; Microbiology
aaa_hanakahi_0.jpg Les Hanakahi DNA repair and cancer biology; Drug target discovery
aaa_yjeong_0.jpg Hyunyoung Jeong Drug metabolism; Pharmacokinetics
jeremy_johnson_0.jpg Jeremy Johnson Preclinical evaluation of natural products for cancer treatment and prevention
aaa_shura_0.jpg Alexander Mankin Mechanisms of antibiotic action
aaa_moore_0.jpg Terry Moore Drug Discovery; Medicinal chemistry; Therapeutically important protein-protein interactions
aaa_btmurphy_0.jpg Brian Murphy Drug discovery from aquatic microorganisms
Nitiss J 150_0.jpg John Nitiss DNA topoisomerases as targets for cancer chemotherapy
aaa_orjala_0.jpg Jimmy Orjala Drug discovery from cyanobacteria and plants
aaa_ddthomas.jpg Douglas Thomas Cancer etiology; Cancer-causing epigenetic modifications; Oncogenic proteins
debra_tonetti_0.jpg Debra Tonetti Pharmacology of breast cancer
nora_vazquez.jpg Nora Vazquez-Laslop Mechanisms of antibiotic action

Z. Jim Wang

Program Director

Pharmacology of chronic pain and drug addiction