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Undergraduate Research

APPLICATION FOR FALL 2014: Available! Deadline is at 5PM on September 3, 2014.

Please address any questions to or meet in VMA 300D.


The Michael E. DeBakey Undergraduate Research Program arose out of competing needs to produce fundable research and to train the next generation of academic researchers. Starting in 2004, a program was initiated that formed research teams of undergraduates with diverse backgrounds, skills, and goals. Integrating research and education, the resulting Research-Intensive Community allowed a dramatic increase in undergraduate research opportunities while producing actual research. To date, the program has received over $1.6M from NSF and NIH, and over 600 undergraduates have been trained through this program.


With support from Learning for a Lifetime (L4L) funds, our scalable model has allowed us to expand significantly to over 100 participants per semester. We have so far been able to maintain an open program that does not select participants by GPA, academic level, major, previous research experience, or future career goal. As a result, many of our participants are first- or second-year students, hailing from a diverse set of majors.


Besides gaining valuable experience performing research in interdisciplinary teams, students earn the title of DeBakey Undergraduate Research Scholar, have an opportunity to produce an abstract for a scientific conference, and successfully advance to a paid leadership position. Students will also have the opportunity to attend seminars lead by faculty in the area of research subjects, such as writing conference abstracts.


  • First-time participants are required to take 3 credit hours of VTPP 291 or 491 (independent research).
  • Student must meet with their teams at least 3 hours a week at times that allow participation of faculty advisors.
  • Up to seven more hours per week are required to be spent on research outside of normal team meetings.
  • At the end of the semester, teams submit either a research plan for the following semester, or an abstract suitable for submission to a national research conference.


The current projects have been chosen both for their importance to basic and applied cardiovascular science and the likelihood to lead to results suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Our approach leverages the insights of both mathematical modeling and focused animal experimentation.