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  • Ishaan Chawdhary

10 Biology Research Opportunities for High School Students

A window into the natural world, biology is an intriguing and versatile discipline. Whether you’re interested in the lives of people, plants, or animals - the study of biology offers several interesting opportunities to conduct research. Sifting through extensive lists of research opportunities, however, only to be unable to discover those that correspond precisely to their interest in biology is a common challenge students experience. In this discipline-specific list, we present 10 research possibilities in the field of biology for high school students. Some of these programs have a fee, while others are free.

Here are 10 research opportunities in the field of biology for high school students:

1. Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS) at University of Chicago


University of Chicago’s Research in the Biological Sciences is an intensive four-week pre-college summer program designed to introduce students to a variety of research techniques in the fields of molecular biology, microbiology, and cellular biology. The whole program revolves around lab time and projects, though some lectures are included in the curriculum to provide background and introduce exciting new concepts. Each course ends with the students presenting results of their independent project.


Cost: $11,400

2. Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory – High School Student Summer Research Fellowship

The MDI Biological Laboratory offers summer research fellowship opportunities to high school students who are sixteen years old or over, with an interest in developing science research skills. The 10 week program welcomes applicants who desire hands-on, research training experience within an advanced laboratory. Students are offered a stipend for their participation.


Cost: None


3. Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program


The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program (Hutton Program) is an educational program sponsored by the American Fisheries Society (AFS) for high school students. The program is a paid summer opportunity, open to students in their junior and senior year, who are interested in pursuing science disciplines associated with natural resource and environment management. Students participate in research projects relevant to fisheries science, habitat protection and restoration.


Cost: None




4. NIH – Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research (HS SIP)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides this opportunity to students in their senior year. Students spend a summer working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world. Accordingly, these students work in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research, for a minimum of 8 weeks. Students are offered a stipend for their participation.


Cost: None



5. UCSD – Academic Connections Research Scholars

25 students are selected to each work individually with a UCSD Faculty researcher. They conduct research in an actual Biochemistry or Biology lab on campus. The 6 week long program offers both winter and summer sessions. Students are admitted on a rolling basis.


Cost: $4200



6. IndianaU – Simon Cancer Center Summer Research Program

The Summer Research Program (SRP) of the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center strives to expand the number of underrepresented high school and undergraduate students. This program is designed for students interested in biomedical and behavioral science fields. In order to accomplish so, IU helps these students by giving them hands-on experience in these subjects. The program is 8 weeks long and open to high school seniors.


Cost: None

7. Fred Hutch – Summer High School Internship Program


This 8 week, paid summer research internship at Fred Hutch is open to rising high school seniors. The Hutch has an international reputation for its pioneering research in biological sciences, bone marrow and stem cell transplantation, cancer prevention, epidemiology, and biostatistics. The program offers a stipend to students for their participation.


Cost: None

8. Cell-Science Summer Internship Program


The goal of this program is to educate next generation scientists about rational drug design & discovery in biotechnology. The program has guest lectures by experts from leading Pharma/Biotech companies, and also hosts two workshops on career development in biology. Students will have a chance to work on a Bioinformatics research project for 7 weeks, also giving oral presentations and submitting project reports. The program is open to rising high school seniors.


Cost: $200

9. UC Irvine Math ExpLR: Summer Research Program

Math ExpLR is a 6-week mathematical biology program. Students will be paired with undergraduates and collaborate on a computational biology research project with a principal investigator. There will also be weekly skill development events, such as how to deliver presentations or how to write math on the computer. All students will give a presentation on their study and write an expository paper about their work before the end of the project. Cost: None



10. Research Apprenticeship in Biological Sciences (RABS) at Cornell University


This program, known as RABS, allows serious, research-oriented students to collaborate on an investigative project with some of Cornell's top academics and PhD associates. Students may spend 40 or more hours a week on a research team, making the curriculum intensive. Students prepare an oral presentation and a written report suitable for publishing at the end of the six-week course.

Cost: $12,825


One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program


If you are interested in a selective, structured research program, consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded by Harvard and Oxford researchers. The program pairs you with a full-time researcher to develop your own independent research project, in any discipline of your choice. Last year over 1500 students applied to 500 slots in the research program! You can find the application form here.

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