Physiology & Biophysics

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

The Department of Physiology and Biophysics Summer Undergraduate Research Program is an important component of the departmental educational effort. This program is designed to provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to obtain first-hand research experience in a state-of-the-art research environment. The immediate goal is to provide students with a rewarding and confidence-building experience. The ultimate goal is to foster new careers in biomedical research. Candidates who are interested in this program must have a genuine interest in exploring career options in biomedical research.

Student Participation

The program accepts undergraduates from universities nationwide. Approximately 60% of our SURP students are from Ohio universities and the remaining students matriculate from across the country. The program is available for sophomores, juniors and seniors and an option exists for a second year of participation based on interest and performance. The program accepts a maximum of fifteen students per summer and only one student per laboratory.

The Program

  • The program lasts for eight weeks during the summer. Interested students are encouraged and welcomed to prolong their stay upon discussing the option with the mentoring faculty. 
  • There is no limit to the number of positions as support is provided by the mentoring faculty  through his/her funding or through funding provided by National Agencies or Societies (American Physiological Society, Endocrine Society, DAGC-Diabetes Society, Cancer Society, etc.).
  • Students are paid a stipend of $3,500 dollars for the eight week program and, in many cases.
  • Housing support is also available.
  • Students who are planning to participate for a second year may desire to write a research proposal for a national research service award (American Heart Association, American Cancer Association, National Institutes of Health, etc.). Applications for these prestigious awards are written in conjunction with a Department of Physiology and Biophysics faculty mentor during the semester prior to the second summer. The student need not be in the department while preparing these applications.

During the first week of the program, the mentor and the student identify an appropriate research project and write a single page proposal describing the planned research. This proposal is signed by the student and the sponsoring faculty mentor and is then submitted for approval to the SURP Program Director, Dr. Andrea Romani. This document becomes the blueprint for the summers work. It describes the scientific background underpinning the proposal, describes the techniques to be used, and sets out goals to be accomplished during the summer.

At the beginning of the second week, the SURP students meet as a body to discuss and present their research plans to the other SURP students. These weekly meetings continue throughout the remaining weeks of the program, providing students with a forum for discussing their work and presenting their progress. Dr. Romani will attend these presentations, along with several physiology graduate students, to assist in facilitating discussion.

During the last week of the SURP program, the students present their SURP project to the faculty of the Department. A faculty committee selects the top two students for reception of the SURP Research Recognition Awards.


Week 1
Select research topic, write proposal, get mentor's signature, and get Dr. Romani's approval
Week 2
Monday, 9-10 am
SURP students research plan presentations (10 min each)
Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Laboratory experience and as necessary on weekends
Week 3 to Week 7
Monday, 9-10 am
SURP students research plan presentations (10 min each)
Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Laboratory experience and as necessary on weekends
Week 8
Prepare with faculty advisor for SURP Research Presentations
Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Laboratory experience
Friday, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
SURP Research Symposium - Awards presentation and farewell party