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Summer Undergraduate Research Institute for the Study of Kidney Disease (SURISKD)

The Summer Undergraduate Research Institute for the Study of Kidney Disease (SURISKD) Program at UT Southwestern’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is an intensive summer research training experience for college students who are preparing for Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. careers in biomedical research with a special emphasis on kidney-related research. Participants spend 10 weeks (beginning in early June and ending mid-August) pursuing individual research projects that range from embryonic development and physiology to kidney cancer and imaging in the laboratories of Graduate School faculty members. This program is funded by an R25 grant (DK1014010) from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Tom Carroll, PhD, is the Principal Investigator for the grant.

2024 Program Dates: June 3 – August 9, 2024

SURISKD participants will gain experience in modern research techniques and plan and execute an experimental strategy to answer a scientific question. The Program 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 field of kidney-related research.

Kidney specific lectures, training in the responsible conduct of research, clinical shadowing, observations of renal disease-related care, journal clubs, and seminars by faculty will supplement the research experience. Participants will present their accomplishments at a summer student research program meeting hosted by the National Institute of Health and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Approximately 15 fellows participate in SURISKD. Participants are assigned to a laboratory and research project according to their previous training and research interests.

Research areas include:

  • Embryonic development
  • Physiology
  • Kidney Disease
  • Cancer
  • Imaging
Mentor and student in lab

Eligibility for SURISKD

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.

Selection criteria includes:

  • Interest in learning about and doing research in the field of kidney disease
  • 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

Natural and biological sciences majors who have an interest in stem cell and regenerative medicine should apply to the SURF-Stem Cell Program.

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

Student in lab


The stipend for the 10-week program is $5,000. This support is taxable. Details on local living accommodations will be provided when participants are notified of their acceptance. If a participant requires housing, then the costs will be covered by SURISKD. However, participants are responsible for paying for their own travel expenses.

How to Apply for SURISKD

To apply for SURISKD, 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, teachers, employers, or advisors. 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.

Application opens: October 1, 2023
The deadline is: February 15, 2024


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

Contact the SURISKD Program

Arnaldo Diaz Vazquez, Ph.D.

Associate Dean

Arnaldo Diaz Vazquez, Ph.D.

Iman Ahmed

Senior Program Coordinator


Iman Ahmed

Cristina Lerding

Program Coordinator


Cristina Lerding