Fralin Biomedical Research Institute nueroSURF program


The neuroSURF program is a 10-week summer program that gives students the opportunity to participate in hands-on, hypothesis-driven research in an area of translational neurobiology at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke, Virginia.

This program encompasses a full-time, 40-hour weekly schedule and supports neuroSURF students with a competitive stipend. Housing will also be provided to students who need it.

The neuroSURF program’s objectives are:

  • To expose undergraduate students to the broad scope of fundamental and translational neurobiology

  • To provide hands-on research experiences to undergraduates who would not otherwise be exposed to experiential learning in neurobiology

  • To expose students to experiential learning and neurobiology early in their careers to increase the likelihood of long-term careers in related fields

  • To develop and foster creative problem-solving and science communications skills

Areas of research for neuroSURF students will include:

  • Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Neurobiology

  • Glial Cell Biology and Cancer

  • Behavioral, Cognitive, and Computational Neurobiology

In addition to hands-on research projects, FBRI neuroSURF students will participate in:

  • Weekly translational neurobiology research seminars by Virginia Tech Faculty

  • Courses on preparing for a future career in science

  • Mentoring on science communication and presentation skills

  • Two Annual Summer Research Symposiums; one at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and one at Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

  • Peer mentoring from Virginia Tech graduate students

  • Social and cultural activities with fellow summer research students


To be considered for the neuroSURF program, an applicant:

  • Must be a rising sophomore, junior, or senior who attends a university or college in the United States

  • Must be a United States citizen or permanent resident of the United States

  • Must possess a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0

  • Must have completed an introductory course in biology, chemistry, physics, or psychology

  • Must be able to devote yourself to full-time research for the duration of the 10-week neuroSURF program

  • Previous coursework in neurobiology and previous independent research experience are not required

  • Applicants who express commitment to careers in science will be preferred, and students from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply


The application for the neuroSURF undergraduate program is available here

All application materials are due by February 1.

Please note, a completed application package includes the following:
  • General information about the applicant

  • Three short essays describing:

    • Your participation experience in independent research

    • Why you are interested in translational neurobiology

    • What you hope to gain from participating in the neuroSURF program and how it might contribute to your career

  • An up-to-date unofficial transcript and GPA (16MB maximum file upload)

  • A recommendation letter / faculty letter of support from a faculty member at your current institution, or a previous faculty mentor (16MB maximum file upload). The recommendation letter can either be uploaded to the application or emailed directly to Dr. Alexandria Pilot Chambers at

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Faculty Research Areas