CPRIT Summer Undergraduate Experience

CPRIT Summer Undergraduate Experience - Summer Undergrad ICPRF

Innovation in Cancer Prevention Research

Summer Undergraduate Innovation in Cancer Prevention Research Fellowship

Welcome to the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) - UTHealth Fellowship in Innovation for Cancer Prevention Research - UTHealth’s training program for undergraduates, pre- and post-doctoral fellowships in cancer prevention. This program goes beyond being a quality cancer education and career development program to focus on helping those seeking a career in cancer prevention and control research to learn to ask the important research questions, apply cutting-edge methods, and move the field of cancer forward.

Contact Hanah Gibson, 713-500-9476, for further information.

An Innovative Summer

Do you like to think outside of the box?

We want to get you interested in innovative cancer prevention research as a career.

2019 Summer Fellowship Applications are OPEN!

TRAINEES: The application will be active from November 27, 2018 through January 14, 2019. Click here to apply. 

MENTORS: The application will be active from November 27, 2018 through January 4, 2019. Click here to apply. 


The program is generously funded by the UTHealth Innovation in Cancer Prevention & Research Training Program (Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas grant #RP160015). The CPRIT program was created in 2007 as part of a voter-approved constitutional amendment authorizing the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas.

You can find out more about CPRIT at their website:


Take the innovative thinking course by the head of the program, Roberta B. Ness, M.D., M.P.H., who literally wrote the book on innovation: Innovation Generation: How to Produce Creative and Useful Scientific Ideas  as well as Genius Unmasked and Creativity in the Sciences: A Workbook Companion to Innovation Generation. Her newest book, The Creativity Crisis: Reinventing Science to Unleash Possibility, was released in December of 2014.

Creativity Crisis Book Cover

Dr. Ness is now offering a self-paced course on innovation and how to think creatively. The course began on November 6, 2018, but you can complete it on your own time. Enroll in http://go.uth.edu/edX on edX now! 

Click below to see the TedXHouston talk, "Innovative thinking: Can you be taught?" with Roberta B. Ness, MD, MPH

2019 Summer Mentors


Laura Beretta, Ph.D.

University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Houston, Texas

Project: Chemoprevention in hepatocellular carcinoma


Courtney Byrd-Williams, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Public Health

Austin, Texas

Project: Cancer prevention started early: Health behaviors of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers


Paula Cuccaro, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Public Health

Houston, Texas

Project: Social Marketing and Mobile School-Based Vaccination Clinics: An Innovative Approach to Increase HPV Vaccination

Frieden 2

Lex Frieden, M.A., L.L.D.

UTHealth McGovern Medical School

Houston, Texas

Project: Empowering Cancer Survivors


Jeffrey Frost, Ph.D.

UTHealth McGovern Medical School

Houston, Texas

Project: Molecular mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis 


Yang Gong, MD, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics 

Houston, Texas

Project 1: Learning from patient safety events: Identifying contributing factors from Health IT event reports

Project 2: Assessing quality of meta-analysis in gynecological cancers and the role of journals in enforcing standards of reporting and execution [with Patricia Mullen, Dr.P.H.]


Patricia Mullen, Dr.P.H.

UTHealth School of Public Health

Houston, Texas

Project: Assessing quality of meta-analysis in gynecological cancers and the role of journals in enforcing standards of reporting and execution [with Yang Gong, MD, Ph.D.]


Daniel Harrington, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Dentistry 

Houston, Texas

Project: Targets for Molecular Beacons in Colorectal Cancer


Deanna Hoelscher, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Public Health

Austin, Texas

Project: Analyzing and disseminating results from the STREETS (Safe Travel Environment Evaluation in Texas Schools)


Arash Kamali, MD

UTHealth McGovern Medical School

Houston, Texas

Project: Non-invasive differentiation of the brain tumors using ADC value measurement on brain MRI 


Georgios Karras, Ph.D.

University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Houston, Texas

Project: Dissecting HSP90-dependent drug resistance 


Pora Kim, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics 

Houston, Texas

Project: Investigating kinase fusion genes and oncogenic downstream genes with epigenetic effects for tumorigenesis


Kirk Roberts, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics 

Houston, Texas

Project: Creating a search engine to support precision medicine for cancer


Harold W. (Bill) Kohl, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Public Health

Austin, Texas

Project: Determinants of Transportation-Related Physical Activity


Dung-Fang Lee, Ph.D.

UTHealth McGovern Medical School

Houston, Texas

Project: Hereditary bone cancer in a dish


Sahiti Myneni, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics 

Houston, Texas

Project: Social listening for personalized health promotion 


Lara Savas, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Public Health

Houston, Texas

Project: Salud en Mis Manos: Delivering Evidence-Based Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Services to Latinas in Underserved Texas Gulf Coast Communities


Laura Aubree Shay, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Public Health

San Antonio, Texas

Project: Adolescent Vaccination Program (AVP): Expanding a Successful Clinic-based Multicomponent HPV Vaccination Program to the San Antonio Area 


Cui Tao, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics

Houston, Texas

Project: TIMER: Temporal Information Modeling, Extraction, and Reasoning 


Sally Vernon, Ph.D.

UTHealth School of Public Health

Houston, Texas

Project: Adolescent Vaccination Program (AVP): Expanding a Successful Clinic-based Multicomponent HPV Vaccination Program to the San Antonio Area


Wenyi Wang, Ph.D.

University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Houston, Texas

Project: Create a novel deconvolution pipeline for delineating interactions between tumor, stroma, immune cells in heterogeneous tumor samples 


Tao Cui, PhD

I have served as the mentor for three CPRIT undergraduate students over the past two years. It has been a very rewarding experience for both me and the summer students who worked in my lab.  The CPRIT program allows the mentor and the students to work on biomedical research of their interests. All my CPRIT summer students were able to complete research projects that lead to peer-reviewed full articles.

Yang Gong, MD, PhD

During 2015 summer, we actively engaged in the program and recruited a rising sophomore in Computer Science at UT Austin to our Patient Safety project. The experience stimulated enthusiasm for scientific research, which will be helpful for determining her career goal. On the other hand, her participation brought novel ideas to our project and accelerated our research progress.

Kayo Fujimoto, PhD

My CPRIT fellows were great. They were very creative, action-oriented, and hard workers. They contributed significantly to adding different perspectives/components to the operation of my projects. Specifically, they created a video that introduces our study to participants, set up the study's twitter and Facebook accounts, and study website. They also actively participated in weekly project meetings proposing new ideas and expressing their opinions. I believe that CPRIT summer program provides fellows with great opportunities to think creatively, implement their ideas, and learn how research is conducted, while tackling challenging issues encounter in project operations. 

Select publications by previous Summer undergraduates

  • Rebecca Lin*, Muhammad Tuan Amith, Chen Liang, Cui Tao, "Designing an ontology for emotion-driven visual representations", 2017 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM), pp. 1280-1283, 2017, doi:10.1109/BIBM.2017.8217844

  • Henry Chen*,  Jingcheng Du, Hsing-Yi Song, Xiangyu Liu,  Guoqian Jiang, Cui Tao, Ontological Representation of Time-Relevant Common Data Elements in the Cancer Data Standards Repository, JMIR Medical Informatics (in press)
  • Haidar, A., Carey, F., Ranjit, N., Archer, N., & Hoelscher, D. (2017). Self-reported use of nutrition labels to make food choices is associated with healthier dietary behaviours in adolescents. Public Health Nutrition, 1-11. doi:10.1017/S1368980017001252

  • CL Crowe*, Cui Tao,  Designing Ontology-based Patterns for the Representation of the Time-Relevant Eligibility Criteria of Clinical Protocols. AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc. 2015 Mar 25;2015:173-7. PMID: 26306263
  • D Wang*, R Cunningham, J Boom, M Amith, C Tao, Towards a HPV vaccine knowledgebase for patient education content, Nursing Informatics (accepted)

* indicates CPRIT summer students. 

How to Apply

Click on the link in the box to the right to download the application form and instructions.

Note: If google chrome does not work for application download, please try other browsers e.g, Internet Explorer

Application will be available on November 27, 2018. 

All Letters of Recommendation are due no later than January 14, 2019.

Semi-finalist will be notified in February 2019.

Fellowship will start on Monday, June 3, 2019.


If you have additional questions or would like more information about CPRIT Summer Undergraduate Research, please contact:

Hanah Gibson
UTHealth School of Public Health
1200 Pressler
RAS E-1003P
Houston, TX 77030
Phone 713-500-9476
Email: CPRITSummer@uth.tmc.edu

2018 Poster Presentations 

Vivian_2018 CPRIT Summer Poster
Vi Ly-Poster
Srividya Kottapalli Poster- Final
SarahSmith_2018 CPRIT Summer Poster (0010)
SandraKumwong_2018 CPRIT Poster
ruijia_poster (1)
Melanie_Klock_2018_CPRIT Summer Poster
GisselleGarcia_2018 CPRIT Summer Poster
Femy Varghese_2018 CPRIT Summer Poster
Ethan Wang_2018 CPRIT Summer Poster_fixed
Chiamaka Amadi_2018 CPRIT Summer Poster
AshamarahHeath_2018 CPRIT Summer Poster
Anna_postercprit FINAL
AlexJin_2018 CPRIT Summer Poster
Aisha_2018 CPRIT Summer Poster


Frequently Asked Questions by Applicants

Q: Who is eligible to apply?

A: All undergraduate students in colleges and universities across the United States.

Q: What writing samples should I submit?

A: Your personal statement should at least detail your experiences, why you are interested in the fellowship and what you hope to do with the experience in the future.

Q: Can I apply if I have a G.P.A of less than 3.0?

A: No. You must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be considered for the program.

Q: Can I submit unofficial transcripts? 

A: Unofficial transcripts will suffice during the review of your application. If accepted to the fellowship, official transcripts will be required before you can be appointed. If you believe your official transcript will not arrive before the deadline, we suggest submitting unofficial transcripts with your application. Request official transcripts from your university as soon as possible.


Q: I am an international student on F1 visa. Can I apply for this fellowship?

A: Yes. International students currently enrolled in a US college or university can also apply. After acceptance into the program you will be required to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) from the office of international affairs in your home institution.


Q: Can I submit letters of recommendation, or do they have to be sent directly by the recommender? 

A: All letters of recommendation should be sent to cpritsummer@uth.tmc.edu by the recommender. Although we may accept letters sent directly by you, this practice is strongly discouraged.


Q: Do all materials need to be sent electronically?

A: Yes. The application should be sent in as a .pdf document. Submit electronically to: CPRITSummer@uth.tmc.edu. Please follow the directions listed on the application regarding the naming convention of files. Official transcripts may either be emailed (if your institution participates in this practice) or sent directly to: 

Hanah Gibson

UTHealth School of Public Health

1200 Pressler, RAS E-1003P

Houston, TX 77030


Q: I was selected as a semifinalist. What does that mean? 

A: It means that you have been selected to participate in the interviews that will be conducted by the faculty mentor. The mentors and their individual projects will be listed on the website under the "Mentors Profile" tab. At this point, you can contact the faculty via email to show interest in their project.