Summer Undergraduate Vision Research Fellowship Program

The West Virginia University Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences is currently accepting applications for an undergraduate summer research internship opportunity for the summer of 2024, which is a program supported by the WVU Visual Sciences Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (CoBRE). This 10-week, full-time vision research-focused internship program will be held from May 23, 2024 - August 1, 2024, and will take place in person at West Virginia University's Health Sciences Center in Morgantown.

This highly selective program will provide undergraduate interns with basic biochemistry and visual neuroscience research experience in areas that explore blinding diseases and new diagnostic and treatment methods of therapeutic intervention, including adeno-associated virus (AAV) mediated gene therapy.

Current undergraduate students with career interests in vision, neuroscience, biochemistry, and molecular medicine basic research topics are encouraged to apply. Selected student interns will receive $5,000 participant compensation for cost-of-living expenses in Morgantown, WV over the 10-week program duration. Each student will be assigned a mentor currently conducting research in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences laboratory space, will complete a small-scale research project, and will give a formal presentation at the conclusion of the internship.

Group photo of 2022 Summer Vision students

2022 Summer Undergraduate Vision Research Fellowship Students (From left to right: Ciersten Rose, Concord University; Dana Goodman, Fairmont State University; Kamden Dulaney, Fairmont State University; Emmanuel Frimpong, Claflin University; Patricia Best, Fairmont State University; Marion Cahill, West Virginia University; Jason Borst, University of Virginia; Jack Evans, West Virginia University) 

Group photo of 2023 Summer Vision students

2023 Summer Undergraduate Vision Research Fellowship Students (From left to right: McKayla Friel, Fairmont State University; Ethan Weneck, WVU; Elijah Smith, WVU; Silas Wang, Carnegie Mellon University; Wilma Aung, Binghamton University; Junyeop Ahn, University of Virginia)

Eligibility Requirements

  • Full-time undergraduate students enrolled in a US university or college (International students enrolled in a US university or college are responsible for obtaining their own visa and work permit if accepted to the program).
  • Undergraduate applicants must be entering sophomore status or higher
  • Post-graduates or students from non-US institutions will not be considered

Preferred Selection Factors

  • Academic record demonstrating achievement and interest in the sciences
  • Previous research experience
  • Interest in careers specifically involving ophthalmic and/or general research and medicine

Application Information

To apply, please fill out and submit the “Applicant” form below. The application package must include the following for applicant consideration: A cover letter and an up-to-date official academic transcript, uploaded as a single PDF file. The cover letter should contain: 1) a description of your interest in the program, 2) a description of your plans after graduating, including any plans to apply to a graduate program (e.g., Ph.D. program) or a professional school (e.g., medical school), 3) your top 3 choices for summer research mentors, selected from the roster of available mentors below:

Host Lab Mentors

A photo of Joel Palko.
Joel Palko, MD
West Virginia University
Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Applicants should arrange to have two letters of recommendation from advisors, professors, or other academic mentors to be submitted using the “Confidential Letter Submission” form below. The application deadline is March 15, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. EST. A full application package and both letters of recommendation are due by the deadline for an applicant to be reviewed and considered. Promising candidates will be contacted for virtual interviews within 1 week of the application deadline.

Applicant Form

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Confidential Letter Submission Form

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