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How Do I Find a Research Mentor?

Summer research may be carried out anywhere on Penn's campus. With over 700 biomedical research laboratories from which to choose, you will have many opportunities, but with so many choices finding a research mentor can be a daunting task. A general procedure for finding faculty with whom to work is provided below:

NIH/BI Research Contacts

Michael Atchison, PhD, Program Co-Director
Phone: 215-898-6428

Michael May, PhD, Program Co-Director
Phone: 215-898-8866

Jenni Punt, VMD, PhD, Program Co-Director
Phone: 610-389-1782

Anastasia Brown, Coordinator
Phone: 215-898-3800

University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine
NIH/BI Summer Research Program
3800 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6046

  • Decide on the general area of research that interests you (ie., microbiology, genetics, neurosciences, virology, gene regulation, molecular biology, cell biology, etc.).
  • Consult the Biomedical Graduate Studies website for graduate groups that encompass those disciplines. The BGS groups are listed below:
  • At the appropriate group website, read about faculty interests.
  • Contact the faculty that most interest you, at least a month in advance of our application deadline, and set up a time to meet with them. At that meeting, learn about the type of work they do and about possible summer projects. Some other questions to ask include:
      • What is the scope of your potential project?
      • What do you hope to achieve over the summer?
      • What is expected of you in the lab?
      • What is your role on the project?
      • Will your mentor be available to you during the summer months?
      • Will you be directed by another member of the laboratory?
      • Will there be opportunity to continue your research beyond the Program end date?
      • Does you mentor have sufficient funds to support your research supply needs?
      • Can you arrange vacation time (10-14 days) during your project?

Another way to find appropriate faculty is to look through departmental web pages at the Vet School.  The four Vet School departments are:

If you need additional help or advice in finding a suitable mentor, the NIH/BI Veterinary Research Scholars Program Advisory Committee is made up of faculty who have many years collective service as mentors and advisors. They are an excellent resource in your search for an appropriate research mentor. The Committee members are:

Feel free to contact them for advice at any time.

Of the more than 700 potential faculty mentors at Penn, 181 have previously hosted Program students. Mentors and projects from the past 10 years are listed below, along with the titles of student research projects. Once you have identified a faculty mentor you are ready to prepare your application. Make a draft of your research proposal and give it to your mentor for advice and approval no later than 4 weeks before the deadline. 

Provide other information requested on the online application form. Remember to submit your application no later than February 1. Good luck!