High School

About ResearcHStart

A Joint University of Chicago/University of Illinois High School Summer Cancer Research Program

ResearcHStart welcomes high school students from the Chicago and Urbana-Champaign areas to explore exciting careers in cancer research. Participants work full time in the laboratories of established cancer researchers, gaining hands-on experience in areas at the forefront of the field: cancer immunology, pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents, bioengineering, experimental cancer therapeutics, cancer disparities, and more. Rigorous research training is complemented by career development and skill-building workshops, a cancer-based faculty lecture series, and a network of faculty and peer mentors dedicated to students’ success. The program culminates in a research symposium for family, friends, and members of the scientific community. Participants receive a taxable stipend of $2,000.

A PDF of the researcHStart flier is available here.

Program Goals

  • Introduce students to scientific research (specifically, cancer research) to promote career opportunities in the field
  • Help students gain knowledge in biophysics, biochemistry, immunology, and pharmacology
  • Help students gain an understanding of cancer and its impact on Illinois residents

Benefits to Students

  • Work in a cutting-edge research laboratory
  • Network with researchers
  • Build relationships with other high school students
  • Build your resume
  • Get an early taste of college life

Participating Institutions

  • The University of Chicago
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Program Dates

June 19 – August 11, 2017

**Chicago Public Schools students are encouraged to apply. Arrangements will be made to accommodate the program’s conflict with the school district’s calendar.**

Eligibility Requirements

  • High school junior or senior at time of application
  • United States citizen or permanent resident
  • Strong interest in a career in scientific research or medicine
  • Strong academic record, particularly in math and science
  • Ability to commit to eight full weeks of programming, 40 hours/week


Admission to researcHStart is highly competitive: only eight participants per site will be selected. Selection is based on applicants’ stated interest in the program, academic record, and letters of recommendation. To apply:

  • Review the applicant information packet, accessible here.
  • Submit the online application form before midnight on Friday, January 20, 2017.
  • Identify two individuals (at least one teacher) to complete the applicant recommendation form. The researcHStart team will contact your recommenders directly with instructions after you submit your online application.
  • Applicants who advance to the second round: Complete an in-person interview with the program leadership team at your chosen site, scheduled for February 2017.

Conflict of InterestThe selection of applicants is managed by an independent review panel at each site. Immediate family members of the review panel or of faculty from a given site are ineligible for that site. Immediate family members of the site leadership teams or the researcHStart Advisory Committee are ineligible for the program. All applications will be subject to the Conflict of Interest Policy.


Email: researcHStart@bsd.uchicago.edu | Phone: 773-702-4678

researcHStart Site Leadership Teams

Meet our Advisory Committee

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researcHStart Photos