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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)


The College of Pharmacy at UIC invites undergraduate students to apply for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. The objective of this program is to introduce undergraduate students to biomedical research in order to heighten interest in science as a career and increase the number of young scientists entering the biomedical research disciplines.


The SURF program is located on UIC’s West Campus, in the center of the Illinois Medical District–one of the largest concentrations of advanced health care facilities in the nation– and just minutes from downtown Chicago. Our location gives us convenient access to a diverse range of cutting-edge research, collaborators and patient populations.

The SURF Program is funded by an institutional award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

Program Dates

The SURF program runs for 10 weeks, starting on Monday, June 3, 2024 and ending on Friday, August 9, 2024.

SURF Program Description

ASPET-sponsored SURF program is for undergraduate students interested in biomedical research.  Students will work on independent research projects in the laboratories of their faculty mentors.  Before beginning work, students will attend relevant laboratory safety training.  In addition to individual mentoring, the program offers number of enrichment activities:  research seminars, advanced research instrumentation workshops, career day at a local pharmaceutical company, instructions on how to prepare a scientific presentation, practice talks and  a mini-symposium where all the participants present their research projects in front of the College audience.  SURF participants will receive compensation of $5,000 for the 10 week period. The SURF program will pay for travel to/from UIC at the beginning/end of the summer. Details will be discussed with fellows once they are accepted into the program.


The 2024 Application Cycle is closed! Applicants will be notified on or before April 1, 2024.

Participating in the SURF program laid a strong foundation for success in research throughout my medical school career. I am very thankful for the opportunity to dive into biopharmaceutical research in the world of breast cancer treatment, as it sparked an interest in women’s health and oncology that played a role in my decision to pursue a career as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist today!

Allysen Schreiber, MD  |  Resident Physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, & 2017 SURF scholar

After completing the SURF program at UIC, it became clear to me that I wanted to continue to pursue research, which led me to start applying to Chemistry Ph.D. programs. There is no doubt in my mind that the rich experiences, mentorship, and exposure to research that I gained through the SURF program at UIC allowed me to get accepted into these graduate programs. I am incredibly grateful to everyone at UIC for making this internship such a positive, constructive experience.

Marla Gravino  |  PhD Student & 2022 SURF Scholar

Participating in research through the College of Pharmacy was an excellent method for exposing me to different research techniques and applications of organic chemistry. It was wonderful to learn first-hand about different chemical processes commonly employed in medicinal chemistry research, and I am excited to bring my newly acquired knowledge back to my home institution and help train other students I work with.

2017 SURF Scholar

As of the end of the 2023 SURF program... Heading link

  • > 74 % of UIC SURF fellows who have graduated have gone onto either graduate or professional school

  • Applicants have come from 30 states and Puerto Rico

  • 50 publications have been authored by former SURF fellows

News Heading link

Are you a former UIC SURF fellow with news to share?  Contact us and we’ll highlight your accomplishments!

Former SURF Fellows Accepted into Grad Program for Fall 2022 Heading link

2022 Grad Students

2021 Fellow Lydia Arnold (left, Eustaquio lab) and 2019 Fellow Ipsita Krishnamurthy (middle, Moore lab) have been accepted into PhD programs for the Fall of 2022. Lydia will be entering a PhD program in Biological Chemistry at the University of Utah after completing her degree in Biochemistry at Ohio Wesleyan University and Ipsita will be entering the  PhD Program in Biosciences at Stanford University after completing her degree in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry at Reed College. 2021 Fellow Kendra Lee (right, Gao lab) finished her  BS in Biology & Chemistry from Roosevelt University and is starting a MS in Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Congratulations Lydia, Ipsita, & Kendra on your acceptances!

Former Fellows Taking on new Professional Opportunities Heading link

2022 Professional

2015 Fellow Kevin Tam (far left, Hong lab) completed his MD at the UIC College of Medicine and started as a resident in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of North Carolina.

2016 Fellow Alex Infante (middle left, Thomas lab) finished his PGY1 Residency at the University of Pennsylvania College of Medicine and is re-joining us at the UIC College of Pharmacy, where he will be a Academic/Family Medicine Pharmacy Fellow starting this fall.

2017 Fellow Allysen Schreiber (middle right, Tonetti lab) completed her MD at Wake Forest University and is now a Resident Physician in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

2021 Fellow Alden Williams (far right, Thomas lab) finished his BS in Biological Sciences at UIC and is joining us at the UIC College of Pharmacy, where he will be an incoming P1 students in the PharmD program starting this fall.

Former SURF Fellow Wins Big at Experimental Biology 2022 Heading link

Irene Corona-Avila

2021 Fellow Irene Corona-Avila (Murphy lab) won 1st place in the ASPET Student/Postdoc Poster Competition at the Annual meeting, held during the Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in early April. Her winning poster was in the Drug Discovery & Development Category. Congrats Irene!

Former SURF Fellows Accepted into Grad Program for Fall 2021 Heading link


2019 Fellows Monica Haughan (left, Johnson lab) and  Talia Cheifetz (right, Eustaquio lab) have been accepted into graduate programs for the Fall of 2021. Monica will be joining us at UIC in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences after completing her degree in Chemistry at Purdue University and Talia will be entering the Mayo Clinic’s PhD Program in Immunology after completing her BS in Biological Sciences at Binghamton University. Congratulations Monica and Talia on your accomplishments!

Former SURF Fellows Accepted into Grad Programs for Fall 2020 Heading link

Sarah, Brenne, and Rocio

2017 Fellow Sarah Colon Plaza (left, Mankin/Vazquez-Laslop lab), 2018 Fellow Brenna Kirkpatrick (middle, Burdette lab), and 2019 Fellow Rocío Rivera Rodríguez (right, Burdette lab) have all been accepted into graduate programs for the Fall of 2020. Sarah will be entering the PharmD/PhD Concurrent Degree Program at the University of Colorado after graduating from the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus with a BS in Biochemistry in May. Brenna, who graduated last year with a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Kentucky and has been working as a Research Technician in the Burdette lab, will matriculate into UIC’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD).  Rocío will finish her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus this spring before heading back to UIC to join the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program. Congratulations to our fellows on their accomplishments!

Former SURF Fellows Taking on New Opportunities Heading link

Alex, Kenneth, & Monica

2016 Fellow and current P3 in the UIC College of Pharmacy PharmD program Alex Infante (left, Thomas lab) was accepted as an Interprofessional Approaches to Healthcare Disparities (IAHD) Scholar.  He is working with an interdisciplinary team hosted in the College of Medicine and completed a collaborative research project with the Lincoln Park Community Shelter to educate their staff on the application of Naloxone in cases of opioid overdoses. Alex presented a poster for that work at the Patient Centered Medicine-Service Learning Program (PCM-SLP)-IAHD Virtual Showcase on April 16, 2020 with the title “Impact of Naloxone Training on the Homeless Community”.

2018 Fellow Kenneth Booker (middle, Moore lab) started his MS in Science Education and started a new position this year as a Quality Control Chemistry Analyst for CSL Behring.

2019 Fellow Monica Haughan (right, Johnson lab) is finishing her junior year at Purdue University. She will be interning at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis this summer as a part of their Molecular Innovation Hub.

Recent Papers and Presentations by Former SURF Fellows Heading link

Alex, Brenna, Rocio

2016 Fellow and current P3 in the UIC College of Pharmacy PharmD program Alex Infante (left, Thomas lab has continued on in research during his PharmD studies in the Hughes lab. His work “Assessing Pharmacy Student-Driven Refill Capture and Adherence Improvement in a Health System Pharmacy Setting” was presented as a 1st author poster at the 2019 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear conference. In addition, Alex is 2nd author on another paper currently under revision.

2018 Fellow Brenna Kirkpatrick (middle, Burdette lab) and 2019 Fellow Rocío Rivera Rodríguez (right, Burdette lab) were co-authors on a paper recently published in the Journal Hormones and Cancer “Baicalein Is a Phytohormone that Signals Through the Progesterone and Glucocorticoid Receptors”. Read their paper here.

Former SURF Fellows win at 2019 ABRCMS Meeting Heading link

Rocio & Joe at the 20190 ABRCMS Meeting


Two former SURF fellows won 2019 ABRCMS Physiology and Pharmacology Presentation Awards. Congrats to Rocío Rivera Rodríguez and Joe Bernal for their award winning poster presentations!

Rocío (center left, with award, and far right, at poster) presented her work from the Burdette lab: “Baicalein: a pure compound from Scutellaria baicalensis with phytoprogestin and phytocorticoid activity”.

Joe (center right, with award, and far left, at poster) presented his work from the Hanakahi lab:  “Effects of 4-hydroxy-nonenal on topoisomerase 1-containing yeast”.