Gateways to the Laboratory/NIDDK Honors Research Program : NIDDK

Gateways to the Laboratory/NIDDK Honors Research Program

A summer program for selected alumni of the
Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Gateways to the Laboratory Program

In order to further increase the pool of qualified under-represented minority college students who would be applying to combined MD-PhD Programs, the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Gateways to the Laboratory Program (Gateways) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) have joined forces to create the Gateways to the Laboratory/NIDDK Honors Research Program. This very prestigious summer program selects five Gateways alumni annually who will spend the following summer conducting research in one of the NIH laboratories in Bethesda, MD. This special summer program is for Gateways to the Laboratory Program alumni who are seriously considering pursuing the combined MD-PhD degree.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the Federal Government's primary agency for the support of biomedical research. Within its Institutes and Centers, the NIH employs approximately 14,800 people including 900 tenured faculty and nearly 3,000 postdoctoral fellows with either medical, dental, or graduate degrees.

Successful applicants will join one of our research laboratories for ten weeks between late May and August. Some flexibility in scheduling exists to accommodate individual student needs. Start dates are determined by the selecting officials and other institute staff.

At the end of the summer, students participate in the Summer Research Program Poster Day. This provides an opportunity for students to present their work before the NIH scientific community. Students are also expected to participate in meetings and seminars in their individual laboratories. In addition, with permission from their preceptors, students may also attend formal lectures and symposia, which are listed in the weekly "NIH Calendar of Events."

Research performed by the laboratories and branches of the NIDDK covers an extraordinarily diverse area but is unified by a commitment to excellence in both basic and clinical investigation. The basic science laboratories include outstanding groups in many facets of modern molecular biology, structural biology, including x-ray crystallography and NMR, cell biology, and pharmacology. Systems under study include viruses, prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including yeast and mammalian cells. Developmental biology is represented by studies ranging from those on cellular slime molds to those on mouse oocyte development. Several laboratories use the most up-to-date techniques in receptor pharmacology, natural products chemistry, and organic chemistry to study a wide variety of compounds, particularly neuroactive agents. Not only biochemical but also mathematical and physical chemical methods are applied to a variety of fundamental problems.

The clinical branches of NIDDK combine basic science and clinical investigation with patient care. Several branches study endocrine diseases and general aspects of signal transduction, including growth factor and hormone action. Molecular biologic and molecular genetic techniques have been used to elucidate specific gene mutations representing the underlying defect in a variety of diseases, including thyroid hormone resistance, certain forms of diabetes, and other disorders of signal transduction. Several NIDDK scientists have created transgenic and knockout mice models of human diseases.

Program Highlights

  • Independent research in a NIH laboratory;
  • Weekly research and career development seminars;
  • Summer seminar series where senior NIH investigators discuss the latest developments in biomedical research.
  • Poster presentation
  • Will be required to attend courses in Ethics in Research and Lab Safety.
  • Students will be paired with post baccalaureates or postdoctoral fellows for informal guidance.
  • Bi-weekly informal meetings with OMHRC staff.


  • Alumni of the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Gateways to the Laboratory Program who are currently undergraduates and seriously considering pursing the combined MD-PhD degree
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Student Participation Allowance ($2,500)
  • Housing

(This is a residential program. Students will share a fully furnished apartment a short distance from the NIH campus. Four students will be housed in a two-bedroom apartment and two students will be housed in a one-bedroom apartment)

  • Travel expenses to Bethesda, Maryland (up to $500)

Location and Duration:

  • 10 weeks, starting in June through mid-August
  • Bethesda, Maryland or Phoenix, Arizona

Application Procedure

  • Complete the on-line application at or print and complete a paper copy. Please type or print neatly in blue/black ink only and fax or email to Ms. Winnie Martinez, contact information below. Be sure to keep your contact information updated at all times.
  • Include a copy of your curriculum vitae.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from faculty members/advisors who can address your intellectual and personal suitability for the Program as well as your commitment to research and the combined MD-PhD Program as your career goal.
  • Personal Statement - Describe your research interest, career goals, and reasons for applying to this program. Do not exceed two pages; double-space.
  • Official Transcript - The official college transcript mailed directly from your school.
  • Application Submission

Applications may be submitted electronically or via fax to:

Ms. Winnie Martinez
Program Analyst
Office of Minority Health Research Coordination
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH
II Democracy Plaza
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Room 648
Bethesda, MD 20892
Tel: 301-435-2988
Fax: 301-594-9358

Application Deadline: February 15
Submission of completed applications before the deadline is strongly encouraged.

Application Package (MSWord)

Page last updated: November 07, 2008

General inquiries may be addressed to: Office of Communications & Public Liaison
Building 31. Rm 9A06
31 Center Drive, MSC 2560
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
For information about NIDDK programs: 301.496.3583

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