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10 Biochemistry Summer Programs for High School Students

Biochemistry has emerged as one of the most promising STEM disciplines in the 21st century. The advances in studying biological processes at the cellular and molecular levels have made it an essential science. Making any valuable contribution to biochemistry requires years of education and hands-on experience in a research lab. As a high school student, the first step you can take towards shaping your career in the field is to attend a summer program at one of the renowned institutes in the country. 


A comprehensive summer program helps you gain experience in a research lab, which helps you develop an analytical aptitude. The experience also helps you build valuable contacts that will come in handy in your career down the line.


With that being said, check out the list of 10 biochemistry summer chemistry programs for high school students that we have compiled just for you. 


RSI is a highly competitive (and prestigious) program that focuses on STEM subjects, and in recent years, it has covered quite a few interesting biochemistry projects. This is a research-based summer program that commences with a week of seminars across biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physics, and the humanities. After this, students are assigned research projects on topics including biochemistry. 


Here’s one of the projects related to biochemistry that a former Rickoid, as RSI participants are called, worked on: Determining the amino acids involved in inhibition of PDE4B by structurally diverse compounds (2011) by Anni Cai. You can view more such projects here.


During the five-week course, you will get to understand the research process from the bottom up. With access to the resources of MIT, you will conduct literature research from the latest publications and prepare scientific research papers for the allotted project under the guidance of mentors who are experienced scientists and researchers. 


Cost: Free of charge, stipend provided

Location: MIT Campus

Application deadline: Applications closed for 2024

Program dates: June 23 to August 4, 2024 

Eligibility: All high school juniors can apply


Anson L. Clark Scholar Program is another highly competitive and free-to-apply summer research program. Research areas vary every year and encompass STEM subjects including computer science, nutritional sciences, mechanical engineering, history, chemistry, electrical and computer engineering, cellular biology & microbiology, and neurobiology, giving options to choose relevant biochemistry projects. 


With an intake of just 12 students every year, it is very selective, with an exhaustive selection process. For the 2019 program, the average SAT score for the 12 selected students was in the 99th percentile. The applicants are expected to provide three essays outlining their research interests and personal motivation to apply for the program, which should include future goals and their most fulfilling service experience. While SAT scores are not mandatory, PSAT is required to complete the application process. 


It is a seven-week summer research program that helps students gain hands-on practical research experience under the tutelage of experienced faculty. Sophia Chen, one of the 2023 scholars, pursued the following project: Identifying Essential Annexin A2 Phosphorylation Sites to Access Potential as Treatment Target. 


Cost: Free of charge, a $750 stipend is provided after the completion of the research project report

Location: Texas Tech University Campus, Lubbock, TX

Application deadline: Applications closed for 2024

Program dates: June 16 to August 1, 2024

Eligibility: Applicants must be at least 17 years of age by the program start date. Open to U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents only


3. Lumiere Research Scholar Program – BiochemistryTrack

Lumiere Research Scholar Programs provide a platform for ambitious high school students to conduct research in biochemistry under the guidance of renowned PhD mentors. The program was founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford, and it is entirely virtual, allowing you to engage in research from anywhere in the world. You will be matched with a top PhD mentor and collaborate one-on-one with them to produce a high-quality, university-level research paper.

 

The program's duration varies based on your research goals and how deeply you would like to explore the subject. As biochemistry is a broad subject, the Lumiere Research Scholar Program offers research opportunities across a wide range of related topics.

 

You can find the application form here.


Also, check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.

 

Location: Virtual

Application deadline: There are four cohorts throughout the year. Applications are due in February, May, September, and December, respectively. Apply here!

Program dates: There are four cohorts throughout the year in spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Eligibility: All high school students may apply.


4.  Summer Science Program (SSP) - Biochemistry track

The Summer Science Program (SSP) is the longest-running residential pre-college program that has focused exclusively on enhancing high school students' skills in STEM subjects since 1959. Every summer, the program covers biochemistry and synthetic chemistry, and in 2024, there will be 12 programs available to choose from for the students, with three of them covering biochemistry. 


It is one of the most selective research programs in the country, with the total strength of selected high school students being either 24 or 36. The Summer Science Program is a comprehensive experience that enlightens you with the challenges and opportunities of a STEM career. With a combination of academic inclination, hands-on research, and a community of researchers and scientists, SSP offers a great opportunity to explore your passion for STEM.


The research project for the Summer Science Program in Biochemistry will be Fungal Inhibitor Design. It aims to familiarize the selected high school students with the practical aspects of modern biochemical research and will train students on how to intellectually approach a biochemical research problem.


Cost: There is no application fee. Program fees can go as high as $8,800, but financial aid is available. The program fee is scaled to what each family can afford. 

Location: Biochemistry programs will be conducted at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, and Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Application deadline: Applications closed for 2024

Program dates: Biochemistry Batch 1: Purdue University, June 9 to July 17, 2024

Biochemistry Batch 2: Purdue University, June 16 to July 24, 2024

Biochemistry Batch 3: Indiana University, June 16 to July 24, 2024

Eligibility: Applicants must be between 15 and 19 years of age


The High School Summer Internship Program is offered by the National Institutes of Health, allowing high school students to spend a summer working in the Intramural Research Program (IRP). Research opportunities are offered in biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences, with opportunities to explore basic, translational, and clinical research. IRP is the largest biomedical research institution on earth, so a certain prestige comes with selection in the program. 


With an acceptance rate of around 7%, the full-funded program is highly selective and competitive. The selection process is pretty straightforward, and apart from all the academic documentation, you are expected to submit a cover letter broadly describing your prior research experiences, your current interests, and your career goals.


Cost: Free of charge. Stipends for summer interns are adjusted annually and are based on educational level; you can find more details here

Location: Across all six NIH research campuses in the USA

Application deadline: Applications closed for 2024

Program dates: Summer interns will undergo training for six to eight weeks and can start on any of the following dates: May 14, May 21, or June 5, 2024

Eligibility: Applicants must be 17 years of age or older on June 15, 2024. Applicants must reside within 40 miles of the NIH campus they have applied to. Open to U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents only


The LLNL Biotechnology Summer Experience is a two-week program that invites high school students to take part in an ongoing research project in molecular biology and bioinformatics. The work involves DNA sequence analyses of genes from the duckweed species, Landoltia punctata


Unlike other programs on this list, this is a non-residential program and involves a daily commute to the location. The lack of an on-campus feel is more than made up by the fact that the students themselves isolate and purify plasmid DNA and get hands-on experience in performing PCR (polymerase chain reactions), restriction digests, and gel electrophoresis in a federally funded lab, using the same bioinformatic tools used by scientists daily. 


Students' DNA sequences are submitted for publication in the international DNA repository, Genbank. 


Cost: There is no application fee. Students must bring their own laptops to the workshop and have to make their own transportation arrangements. 

Location: Edward Teller Education Center, Livermore, CA

Application deadline: April 12, 2024, 11:59 PM

Program dates: July 15 to July 26, 2024

Eligibility: Applicants must be at least 16 years of age by the program start date. A cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher is necessary to apply


Tufts University’s Biomedical Engineering Research (TUBERS) Program is a free-of-cost program that aims to provide high school students with first-hand experience in biomedical research, where they might get to develop new methods to study cells, tissues, and organs. They will get to study a particular field of science in depth for 6 weeks while working in tandem with undergraduate and graduate students involved with the program and their research mentors.


Students are allowed to present their findings from the projects to participate in local and national science competitions. The nature of the program allows the students to build close connections with grad students, professors, and industry, which helps them make calculated decisions regarding their academic careers. Most of the alumni from the program went on to pursue biomedical and biochemical courses for their undergraduate studies. 


Cost: There is no application fee. Out-of-state students have to make their own accommodation and transportation arrangements. 

Location: Tufts University, Medford, MA

Application deadline: April 26, 2024

Program dates: July 1 to August 16, 2024

Eligibility: Applicants must be at least 16 years of age by the program start date. 


iCLEM (Introductory College Level Experience in Microbiology) is a 7-week, paid high-school summer internship program aimed at rising juniors and seniors belonging to underrepresented, low-income backgrounds in Alameda, Contra Costa, or San Francisco Counties only. They attend the program at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a state-of-the-art laboratory managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


They undergo extensive lessons on the fundamental concepts of microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, biofuels, and synthetic biology. Discussions with STEM professionals and visits to local biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies help the students explore future career options.  


Cost: There is no application fee. Students will receive a stipend of $3,000 upon successful completion of the program

Location: Joint Bio Energy Institute (JBEI), Emeryville, CA

Application deadline: Applications closed for 2024

Program dates: June 14 to July 26, 2024

Eligibility: Applicants must be 15 years old by December 31, 2023. It is open only to students enrolled in high school in Alameda, Contra Costa, or San Francisco County. A GPA of at least 2.5 is required, and the student must've passed Algebra 1 and Biology. The program is exclusively for economically disadvantaged high school sophomores and juniors, and there are annual household income limitations, which can be found here.


KEYS is a 7-week program that allows promising high school students residing in Arizona who possess a keen interest in interdisciplinary biosciences, biomedicine, and data science to work on real-world projects. Selected students undergo a one-week crash course to get familiar with various aspects of bioscience and data science techniques. After this, they are paired with a University of Arizona faculty member, and they get to work on ongoing projects and gain hands-on experience with the latest lab techniques. 


The selection process is pretty straightforward, with an application that requires students to submit a transcript and two people who will fill out a recommendation form. While there is no fixed selection criteria, students with good grades in biology and chemistry and some project or lab experience will be given a preference. Alicia Bai, one of the research interns of the 2023 batch, got to work on a biochemistry project titled Expressing and Purifying Membrane Proteins.


Cost: There is no application fee. There are provisions for financial aid to cover iny-to-day costs for selected interns

Location: BIO5 Institute, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Application deadline: Applications closed for 2024

Program dates: June 3 to July 19, 2024

Eligibility: Applicants must be at least 16 years of age by the program start date and have resided in Arizona for at least 1 year. 


The Summer Youth Science Fellowship Program is conducted annually at the Cancer Research Institute at UCI, which is a summer program for high school students to indulge in laboratory-based cancer research. The program is only open to selected students attending high school in Orange County, and the annual intake is around 20. This is not a residential program, and selected students are expected to make their own transportation arrangements. 


Students spend 30 hours a week in research labs at UCI conducting cancer research under one-on-one mentorship with university researchers, so it is highly selective and preference is given to academic merit. The selection process requires two brief essays, which cover personal statements and a diversity statement. 


The projects vary every year, and one of the former participants, Anthony Chen, worked on Complement protein C1q and its role in the breakdown of soluble particles. Details about more projects can be found here


Cost: There is no application fee. There are provisions for financial aid to cover day-to-day costs for selected interns. 

Location: University of California, Irvine, CA

Application deadline: Applications closed for 2024

Program dates: June 24 to August 2, 2024

Eligibility: Applicants should be high school juniors or seniors attending a school in Orange County. Students need to have attended one high school chemistry/lab class and one biology class.



Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.




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