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Summers of Discovery

The Summers of Discovery program at the NIEHS is part of the National Institutes of Health Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research (NIH SIP) Exit NIEHS ( The NIEHS is located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina Exit NIEHS ( Scientists at the NIEHS are committed to sharing with students and educators the intensity, excitement, sense of discipline, and tremendous satisfaction that careers in science can impart to those who pursue them.

Summers of Discovery program participants
"I really enjoyed getting to have so much freedom with designing and conducting my own project, and I enjoyed getting to know so many people and getting the chance to learn from all of them. The poster session was great - it was set up nicely and went very well. Overall it is a very good program with invaluable experiences for us." - Undergraduate Junior

The Summers of Discovery program provides internships to outstanding high school, undergraduate, and graduate students interested in pursuing careers in the biomedical/biological sciences to work on a research project that entails exposure to the latest biochemical, molecular, and analytical techniques in a given field. Participants are selected by scientific mentors from the NIEHS Division of Intramural Research.

The research mentoring experience is supplemented by a series of seminars and workshops featuring some of the Institute’s leading researchers and staff that provide participants with a good overview of environmental health sciences. There is also a poster session at the end of the summer (usually the last Wednesday of July) where participants display the results of their research efforts and respond to questions as they would when participating in a national scientific meeting.

Scientific disciplines encompassed by the program include:

  • bioinformatics
  • biophysics
  • cancer biology
  • clinical research
  • computer modeling
  • DNA repair
  • epidemiology
  • gene regulation
  • genetics
  • molecular toxicology
  • neuroscience
  • pharmacology
  • pulmonary biology
  • reproductive and developmental biology
  • risk assessment
  • signal transduction
  • statistics

Participants are expected to work a minimum of 8 continuous weeks, full-time between May and September. The specific time frame of the research internship is decided between the participant and the research mentor dependent upon their mutual summer schedules. It is preferred whenever possible that interns work the months of June and July including the last week of July to participate in the poster session.


Charle League
Coordinator, Summers of Discovery and Special Programs

P.O. Box 12233
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709-2233
Tel (919) 541-5741

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Last Reviewed: May 21, 2008