Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)-Stem Cell

Update: Video added September 13, 2017


The Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine (CRSM), directed by Dr. Eric Olson, announces the establishment of a new Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program called SURF-Stem Cell. CRSM’s mission at UT Southwestern is to decipher fundamental mechanisms and developmental principals of tissue formation, and to pioneer new approaches to rejuvenate and regenerate damaged organs, and most importantly, to educate students about regenerative science and medicine.

SURF-Stem Cell will offer students a broad overview of stem cell and regenerative science and medicine, bringing together interdisciplinary resources from across the campus. From the fundamental biology of regenerating planaria to human induced pluripotent stem cells, from the bone marrow transplant hospital wards to stem cell therapy boutiques and to ethical concerns regarding editing the genome of the human embryo, SURF-Stem Cell students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the exciting and important field. Most importantly, SURF-Stem Cell students will gain hands on experience in stem cell and regenerative science in one of CRSM’s faculty laboratories. 


To provide an intensive research training experience that leads to an understanding of the planning, discipline, teamwork, and techniques involved in answering clinically important questions from a basic science perspective in stem cell-related research. Fellows will pursue individual research projects under the direction of a member of the graduate school faculty. Lectures, journal clubs, and seminars will complement the research experience.

Fellows gain experience in modern research techniques and plan and execute an experimental strategy to answer a scientific question. SURF-Stem Cell introduces students to the kinds of projects encountered during postgraduate research training and fosters an understanding of the planning, discipline, and teamwork involved in the pursuit of answers to current questions in the biological sciences. At the end of the SURF-Stem Cell Program, fellows present their research during a poster session.

Approximately 15 fellows participate in the SURF-Stem Cell summer research program. Fellows are assigned to a laboratory and research project according to their previous training and research interests.

Natural and biological sciences majors with a broad range of biomedical research should apply to the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program.

Physical science, mathematics, biomedical engineering, and chemistry majors should consider the Quantitative and Physical Sciences Summer Undergraduate Fellowship (QP-SURF) Program or the QP-SURF Chemistry Program.

Natural and biological sciences majors who have an interest in kidney disease should apply to the Summer Undergraduate Research Institution for the Study of Kidney Disease (SURISKD) Program

Eligibility for SURF-Stem Cell

Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate science degree program and have completed their sophomore year. Applicants must also be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Criteria used in selection of fellowship recipients include:

  • College grades
  • Relevant experience
  • Letters of recommendation from faculty who can assess the applicant's potential for advanced training and success in biological research
  • Career goals include pursuing Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. degree


The stipend for the 10-week program is $4,000. This support is taxable. Details on local living accommodations will be provided when fellows are notified of their acceptance. If a fellow requires housing, then the costs will be covered by SURF; however, fellows are responsible for paying for their own travel expenses.

How to Apply for SURF-Stem Cell

To apply for SURF-Stem Cell, please complete the online application. Within the application, you will need to upload your transcripts (official or unofficial) from each college you have attended.

We also require two letters of recommendation, which can come from mentors, professors, employers, or advisers. Letters should discuss the applicant's scientific and intellectual abilities, previous training and experience, and potential for a career in research.

Once the application is submitted, recommenders will receive an email with a link to upload their recommendation letter.

The deadline is February 9.


Housing needs for SURF-Stem Cell students are coordinated through the SURF office. SURF-Stem Cell students requiring housing will stay in a local hotel and be transported to and from the UT Southwestern campus daily. SURF-Stem Cell participants with family or friends in the Dallas/Fort Worth area should plan to stay with them.