Call for Applications for Summer 2024 open now!


Multi-Institutional Summer Undergraduate Research Program

to Promote Diversity and Excellence in Sleep and Circadian Research Careers (R25)

Supported by NIH R25 NS 125603 

the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Integrative Physiology 

at the University of Colorado Boulder


The primary aim of this multi-institutional summer research, educational, and professional development training program is to prepare undergraduate students from underrepresented populations in the U.S. Biomedical Sciences (UBR trainees) for advanced academic training in PhD and MD/PhD programs, foster their pursuit of sleep and circadian science careers, and to promote a diverse workforce.

Training Program Leadership

  • Kenneth P. Wright Jr., PhD     PI/PD/Leadership team and Executive Committee member University of Colorado Boulder     
  • Joseph S. Takahashi, PhD     Leadership team and Executive Committee member  University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Gianluca Tosini, PhD              Leadership team and Executive Committee member  Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Kristin Lopez, PhD                  Executive Committee member University of Colorado Boulder 
  • Anita Shelgikar, MD, MHPE  Executive Committee member  University of Michigan School of Medicine

Advisory Board

  • Sonia C. Flores, PhD            University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Girardin Jean-Louis, PhD     University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  • Ruth O’Hara, PhD                 Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Allan I. Pack, PhD                 University of Pennsylvania/Perelman School of Medicine

Participating Institutions in alphabetical order:

  • Harvard Medical School/Harvard University
  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Northwestern University/Northwestern School of Medicine
  • Stanford University/Stanford University School of Medicine
  • University of Colorado Boulder (Lead site)
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pennsylvania/Perelman School of Medicine
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Washington University St. Louis

Summer Program Information

Each year the program will recruit 12 UBR trainees and provide high quality research, core educational and professional development experiences to prepare trainees for careers in sleep and circadian science. The multi-institutional effort will provide access to training in all regions across the United States creating a community of expert mentors. The training, research, and mentoring outcomes from this R25 program will foster diversity and inclusivity in the scientific workforce and will contribute important scientific knowledge to our understanding of these critical biological processes.

The training program is unique as it provides UBR trainees mentoring by more than 30 faculty from NIH T32 programs and experts in sleep and circadian science conducting research relevant to the mission of the NINDS and the NIH broadly.

This innovative training program addresses training and diversity efforts set forth by the NIH by: fostering the careers of highly talented scientists from diverse backgrounds who will help to further NIH's mission, providing competencies and breadth of expertise to the next generation of biomedical investigators, increasing the number of diverse investigators that conduct sleep and circadian science, promoting science careers of women from UBR backgrounds and training mentors on best practices to foster career pathways for UBR trainees.

Participating institutions benefit from increased team diversity which affords innovative ideas and distinct perspectives.

Ultimately, the training, research and mentoring outcomes from this R25 will foster diversity and inclusivity of the scientific workforce and contribute important scientific knowledge.

Public Health Relevance

Sleep and circadian rhythms are fundamental regulators of neurological function and their dysregulation cause, promote, and exacerbate neurological and other health problems. This educational program will increase the number of undergraduate students from underrepresented populations in the U.S. Biomedical Sciences for advanced academic training and foster their pursuing sleep and circadian science careers to promote a diverse workforce.

Diversity Statement

This R25 training program is committed to justice, equity, diversity and inclusive excellence in the training of future biomedical research scientists, including women. We welcome applications from all UBR undergraduate trainee groups (e.g., minorities, students with disabilities, and students from disadvantaged backgrounds) for this training effort. We believe that innovation in our research and training efforts is enhanced by unique perspectives and viewpoints. We are committed to providing a strong respectful and supportive community and the skills and resources to help our trainees meet their career and personal goals.


2023 NIH R25 Sleep and Circadian Scholars Pictured with Some of the Mentors

NIH R25 2023 Sleep and Circadian Scholars

Averey Eischeid

I’m conducting my undergraduate studies at CSU Channel Islands. I’m conducting my R25 research at UT southwestern medical center, focused on revealing the palatable meal induced oscillator in mammals. My career goals include getting my MD, going into anesthesiology/pain management and possibly obtaining a PhD to further this field.

Jaxon Cook

I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience at the University of Colorado at Boulder. My research project examines the influences of sleep inertia, sleep homeostasis, and circadian phase on time on task performance. My future career goals are to pursue an MD/PhD to help translate research in circadian medicine, stress and resilience, and neurophysiology to take a proactive approach for longer health spans in patients. 

Makayla Moore

I am an undergraduate student at Spelman College majoring in biochemistry and minoring in physics. I am conducting my R25 project at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dr. Carla Green's laboratory.  My project is to investigate the endogenous rhythmicity of a newly discovered protein, nocturnin, which is involved in lipid metabolism. After completing my undergraduate degree, my plan is to complete an M.D./Ph.D. and build a distinguished research career in the field of neuroscience. I want to spend my career investigating the function of the human nervous system on every level from biochemical to behavioral, and applying my findings to the betterment of humanity and our understanding of life's role in this universe.

Allison Blais

I'm a rising senior Neuroscience major at Skidmore College and am currently doing research at Morehouse School of Medicine. My project is about the role of melatonin signaling in liver physiology. I plan to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience and become a full-time researcher.

Axelle Salzar

I'm a rising junior at the University of Washington Seattle intending to major in Neuroscience/physiology. I am currently conducting my R25 project at Morehouse in Atlanta, Georgia and I will be looking at differences among male and females when locating the SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus). As for my future plan I am intending to pursue either MD or MD-PhD program, with a focus on neurology.

Dolores M. Modesto

I recently graduated from Trinity College with a B.S. and honors in Psychology. I am conducting my R25 project in the Sleep and Inflammation Lab with Rachel K. Rowe and Mark R. Opp at the University of Colorado Boulder where I am focusing on sleep after traumatic brain injury during the adolescence stage. I enjoy learning and doing research, so I plan on continuing this route through a PhD or MD/PhD program in the near future. 

Keyanna Adams

I am an incoming third-year at Northwestern University studying Neuroscience with a minor in Data Science. This summer I will be conducting my R25 research project in Dr. Joseph Takahashi's lab with Dr. Victoria Acosta-Rodriguez that focuses on the role of timed dietary interventions on circadian rhythms, metabolism, and longevity. My research will eventually inform my career goals of obtaining an MD/PhD where I intend to conduct neuroscience research that can be integrated into our current approach to health care. 

Kal Gezaei

I am completing my undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia. I am conducting my R25 project at Morehouse School of Medicine with a focus on how the maternal copy of the protein UBE3A plays a role in sleep homeostasis and sleep pressure. My future goal is to hopefully get my PhD in neuroscience and either work in academia or pharmaceutical research.

Blythe Lander

I am a rising junior studying biology at Washington University in St. Louis. Currently, I am working in the Spencer Neuroendocrinology Lab at CU Boulder on a project that explores how the dysregulation of circadian rhythms affects fear conditioning and emotional learning. My interest lies in pursuing either an MD, a PhD, or an MD-PhD, as I aspire to make a meaningful and positive impact on society. 

Nathan Omari

I graduated in December 2022 from the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. Currently, I am conducting my R25 project at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) studying circadian rhythmicity of the heart through analysis of mitochondrial dynamics and calcium activity. My career goals include getting placement in a research lab during my gap year, then applying to multiple MD-PhD programs.

Kate Timothy

I am a rising undergraduate Junior at CU Boulder. I am studying Psychology and Neuroscience in hopes to go to graduate school and work in the sleep and circadian research field. For the summer R25 program, I am working on an Alzheimer's proteomics project under Dr. Wright.

Tyree Ware

I am a rising junior psychology major from Washington, D.C., and I attend Morehouse College. Currently, I am conducting research at the University of Colorado Boulder under Dr. Mark Opp and Dr. Rachel Rowe. My project involves monitoring the activity of mice of a particular strain after brain injury. After obtaining my bachelor's degree in psychology, I plan to attend medical school at Georgetown University and work towards becoming a pediatrician.



Applicants must:

  • Be current or recently graduated undergraduate students from underrepresented populations in the U.S. Biomedical Sciences*
  • Have completed at least two semesters of university; students who have completed an undergraduate degree in the past year from the application due date and have not attended a PhD or MD/PhD program are eligible
  • Have a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 or above;
  • Demonstrate interest and potential to pursue graduate study toward a PhD or MD/PhD
    • (Note: The Multi-Institutional Summer Undergraduate Research Program is not designed for students pursuing professional training for careers in clinical medicine, clinical psychology, or the allied health professions.)
  • Be at least 18 years old by the start date of the program.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or non-citizen national of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence
    • (Note: Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible)
  • Be able to devote full-time effort over the entire duration of the summer program

*We use NIH NOT-OD-20-031 for determining UBR status as being one or more of the following:

  •  Racial/ethnic minority
    • Blacks or African Americans
    • Hispanics or Latinos
    • American Indians or Alaska Natives
    • Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders 
  • Individual with a disability
    • physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Individual from a disadvantaged background based on two or more of the required criteria (e.g., first generation college student, grew up in a qualifying U.S. rural area)

Trainees will be exposed to intensive laboratory experiences, career counseling and professional development activities to provide a strong foundation for pursuing an academic career. The program will emphasize application of sleep and circadian science principles to problems of basic and clinical importance to the NIH (e.g., neurological disorders).

What does the summer research program offer?

  • Summer stipend - $5,280
  • Housing allowance
  • Travel costs from host institution to Colorado Sleep and Circadian Summer School and housing allowance at the summer school
  • Host institution provided travel support from trainees home to the institution
  • Free student memberships generously provided from the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms and the Sleep Research Society

Program Calendar

  • June 10-Aug 2
    • Summer research experience at host institutions
  • Aug 4-Aug 9
    • Summer school at the University of Colorado Boulder

Faculty Mentors and Summer Research Projects

Each summer, faculty from three participating institutions will accept up to four UBR trainees.  Faculty and participating institutions for this year are listed in the application materials. In 2024 the following institutions will be hosting...

  • Northwestern University/Northwestern School of Medicine
  • University of Pennsylvania/Perelman School of Medicine
  • Washington University St. Louis

The call of applications from UBR Undergraduate candidates for Summer 2024 is open now.  Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis.

The application can be obtained by downloading it here: Application

Please email Prof. Kenneth Wright with any questions -