Discovery Research Internship Prgram

for Undergraduate Students

CTBP Discovery Research Internships are intended to engage and provide training and practical experience in the theoretical and experimental foundations of biological physics. The field of biological physics seeks to explain biological phenomenon through precise quantitative descriptions and modeling. Quantitative descriptions are based upon fundamental concepts and laws defined in engineering, physics, chemistry, etc. Therefore, a thorough understanding of biological phenomena requires the expertise and approaches of a number of scientific and mathematical disciplines. CTBP biological physics research is an active collaboration between experimentalists (biochemists, geneticists, biologists) generating biological data in the laboratory, and theoreticians (physicists, mathematicians, chemists) who develop quantitative models to explain observed biological phenomena.

The Discovery Research Internship program invites and strongly encourages undergraduate students majoring in a natural (biology, molecular biology, biochemistry) and physical science (physics, chemistry), mathematics or computer science to apply for an internship by completing an online application at:

NOTE: Any student who has not yet received a bachelors degree (BS, BA) or it's equivalent prior to beginning a DRI program internship is eligible. And only citizens or permanent resident aliens of the US are eligible for financial support (as per federal regulations). Those who are not US citizens and/or permanent resident aliens may be offered internship positions, but under the condition that they will be personally responsible for all travel, housing, etc. while in participating in a DRI internship.

To Apply, EMAIL the information (documents) requested below to:

Christopher M. Smith, PhD,

Your internship application includes three documents: a current Resume, Statement of Research Interest, and a List of Academic Courses. These documents should be submitted in PDF format.

Your Resume should include at the minimum;

Perhaps the most important documents in your application package are your statement of interest and list of academic courses completed. The course list provides some indicator of your preparedness for the research that will be performed in your host research laboratory, and the statement of interest serves as one measure to match you with a research group that performs research in your area of interest.

List of Academic Courses - Create a list all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses that you will have completed by May 24, 2010 and for which you attained at least a C grade. Do not submit your transcripts in lieu of this list.  Also include STEM courses that you may have taken as part of a workshop, other informal training, etc. Also include high school STEM AP courses (please identify as "HS/AP").

Your Statement of Interest, should be no more than two pages, minimum of 12 point Times or 11 point Arial/Helvetica font and 1.5 line spacing. Use this statement to tell the selection committee what STEM field or specific area of research is of interest to you today! Vague statements about your desire to gain research experience are of no use to the committee (you wouldn't be applying for this program if you weren't already interested in gaining research experience!). In addition, be specific about your research interest. For example, describe a current STEM interest that you have that was catalyzed from what you may have read in the newspaper, in a journal article or were exposed to in one of your classes. The selection committee does understand that your particular STEM interest may change over time; in fact we would expect it to change as you mature intellectually, scientifically. But we want to know what excites you, what you are scientifically passionate about today. Your particular area of interest will aid the selection committee in placing you into an appropriate internship laboratory, and your passion, scientific curiosity will help the committee assess your candidacy for an internship. Being scientifically curious, wanting to push scientific and technological boundaries is just as important to success, as is your academic STEM literacy.

This information will be utilized to place prospective interns in research labs that best fit their future aspirations, experience and academic background. Research faculty are very interested in interns who are self-motivated, can work effectively in a group, and are willing to participate actively in a team effort. Internships may or may not include a stipend. Internships can range from a few months to an entire academic year depending on the project and your commitment. They can also start any time throughout the year, although January, early Summer and Fall are the preferred start dates requested by many faculty.

More information can be found at the CTBP web site: If you have additional questions, contact:

Christopher M. Smith, PhD.
Director, Education, Outreach & Training
Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, University of California
9500 Gilman Drive, MC0374, San Diego, CA 92093
(858) 534-8370,