Stanford Summer Research Program (SSRP)

Student Perspectives


Abena Bruce
Stanford University
Year: 2009
PI & Mentor: Jamie Zeitzer, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

I am currently a junior at Stanford University, studying Human Biology with an Area of Concentration in Global Public Health.  I completed research on the relationship between disruptions in sleep and breast cancer.  Both were subjects in which I had much interest, but had never considered studying together, until the summer.  Learning how to do research in a dry lab was really appealing to me, I learned so much.

In addition to the research, I was academically enriched in other ways.  Once a week, along with three other SSRP participants.  We went over methods in reading journal articles, writing statements of purpose, and creating scientific posters and Powerpoints to relay our findings.  Furthermore, we had workshops with various grad students, giving us first hand knowledge about the process of applying to grad school.  As if that wasn’t enough, every other week we attended lunch with a different guest lecture conducting research at Stanford. 

After being motivated by the coordinators and my grad student mentor, I gained the courage to contact and meet with people who I never imagined possible.  I met with Stanford admissions officers, the medical school associate dean, the medical school dean, and numerous physicians at the Stanford Hospital.

My summer was not only filled with academics.  I met 30 new students, all doing great things in life.  In our down time, we explored the nearby cities.  I made some great friends with whom I still keep in touch.

I am so thankful to having participated in a program in which I was exposed to so many opportunities.  The coordinators put in so much effort into making sure the participants have a wonderful and meaningful summer.  I can’t think of another way I would have liked to spend that summer.



Eseosa Ighodaro
University Of Kentucky
Year: 2009
PI: Lucy Shapiro, Developmental Biology
Mentor: Grant Bowman

In California, my summer of 2009 was filled with sunshine, new friends, and bacteria! I participated in the Stanford Summer Research Program Amgen Scholars Program at Stanford University. It is a fully funded, eight week, residential research program that gave me the opportunity to conduct biomedical research in a world-renowned laboratory. The main focus of the lab is to understand the mechanism of asymmetrical cell division in the gram-negative bacteria, Caulobacter Crescentus.

Each time I pipetted bacterial cell, I felt the thrill and empowerment of knowing that I was helping to understand complex biological phenomenon of asymmetrical cell division. I was helping researchers add to the bank of past and present knowledge. I quickly realized that I wanted to become a researcher so that I could continue to ask my own questions and seek out their answers.

                    Additionally, I met life-long friends that were as passionate about biomedical research as I. All thirty of us were a big family at Stanford; we studied, researched, and socialized together. Presently, I still keep in contact with my fellow colleagues. Moreover, this experience affirmed my decision in pursuing a combined M.D./Ph.D degree. After graduation, I will matriculate into the M.D/Ph.D Program at the University Of Kentucky College Of Medicine.         



Erika Martinez
University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Year: 2010
PI: Miriam B. Goodman, Molecular and Cellular Physiology
Mentor: Dong Wang

It was a great experience participating in SSRP. I had a super summer lab, group, and summer program supervisors who where willing to help in everytime they could. Thank you guys!

The ability to sense and respond to temperature changes in the environments is critical for animal's survival. However, the detailed mechanism of how animals, including humans, sense the precise temperature changes is still not well understood. To understand more how animals detect temperature changes, we used C.elegans and study the role of five PDE genes in the animal in thermotaxis, and compared the temperature-dependent behavior response of wild type and PDE mutant animals. 

Currently, I'm continuing my degrees in physics and chemistry, planning for my graduate studies.

Stephanie Sandvick

Stephanie Sandvick
University of Mary
Year: 2010
PI: James Ford, Oncology
Mentor: Lisa McPherson

My experience at Stanford was one of the most enriching academic experiences I have had to date. SSRP gave me a glimpse of biomedical research, graduate school, and life working in a clinic/hospital. I had the opportunity to observe a surgical lumpectomy at the Stanford Medical Center and interact with participants in my lab's breast cancer clinical trial, further enhancing my knowledge of the clinical trial process. The opportunity to do cutting edge research and work with world re-known scientists improved my analytical, critical thinking, problem solving, time management, and writing skills, enabling me ask relevant scientific questions. 

Additionally, SSRP afforded me a glimpse of graduate life. I attended the Stanford Cancer Biology retreat this past September abdI was fortunate to listen to a wealth of great scientific talks by outstanding researchers from Program, as well as interact with other graduate students. Through encouragement of the program's lab mentors, PIs, and PAs, my fervor for science and learning increased exponentially. The skills and passions I developed from my experience at SSRP opened up numerous possibilities as I apply to graduate school. The people I have met and experiences I had at SSRP have improved me as a person, scientist, and a future healthcare provider.


Luke Yancy Jr.
Morehouse College
Year: 2009
PI: Atul Butte, Pediatrics
Mentor: Silpa

SSRP was the point in my research career when I learned how to be both an independent and collaborative researcher. While the lab pushes you to develop your own questions and methods to answer those questions, the program also encourages the constant exchange of ideas amongst its members. This allowed for intense development of ideas and resulted in some groundbreaking projects.

I have been able to apply the tools learned while at SSRP and am currently applying to PhD programs for Fall of 2011. Stanford University's Biomedical Informatics program and the University of Cambridge International PhD Programme are my top choices for schools. 

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