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Stanford ChEM-H Undergraduate Scholars Program

Our primary mission is to provide undergraduates with the opportunity to gain depth in a research area complementary to their chosen or intended major.  

Program Description

The Stanford ChEM-H Undergraduate Scholars Program aims to provide interdisciplinary research experience to students in the physical science, engineering, or life science fields. Our primary mission is to provide undergraduates with the opportunity to gain depth in a research area complementary to their chosen or intended major. For example, a physical science or engineering major may be placed in a biological or clinical research host lab. Students are matched with a postdoc mentor in the host lab who comes from a closely-related discipline. Mentors will work closely with students to train them in the scientific method, relevant laboratory techniques, and development of a proposal for a summer research project. 

Students apply during their sophomore fall quarter and the program runs from winter quarter through the following fall, including the summer. Selected students will register for research units (3 units/quarter) and a 1-unit seminar course during their sophomore winter and spring quarters as well as the fall quarter of junior year. The seminar, "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Human Health Research" (Tuesdays, 3-4 pm), will expose students to new laboratory techniques, examination of diverse scientific literature, research proposal development, and technical and non-technical communication skills. Students will engage in peer mentoring activities and benefit from the diversity of academic backgrounds in the cohort. During each academic quarter, students will also be required to spend 8-10 hours per week in their matched lab doing research. Funding will be provided to conduct full time research in the same lab in summer quarter. 

Information for Undergraduate Applicants


Applicants must be sophomores who have declared or intend to declare a major in a field of physical science, engineering, or life science and have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. 

Program Requirements

  • Spend 8-10 hours/week in host lab during academic quarters, for research credit (winter/spring sophomore year and fall junior year)
  • Work full time in host lab during summer quarter, stipend funded by Stanford ChEM-H
  • Attend a weekly seminar (Tuesdays, 3-4 pm) focused on interdisciplinary research, research proposal development, presentation skills, and more
  • Present a final research talk and poster at the end of the program


The 2019 application is now closed. Please check back in Fall 2019 for the 2020 application.

Applications must be submitted through the online portal at and will require the following:

  1. Stanford transcript (PDF, unofficial copy is acceptable)
  2. Current resume (PDF)
  3. Answers to the following questions:
    • What courses or other academic experiences motivated you to choose your major or intended major? If you are still deciding between multiple majors, what motivated you to consider each of them? (500 words or less)
    • Describe an interdisciplinary research or technology problem that would excite you as an undergraduate researcher. The problem may not clearly fit within the scope of your chosen or intended major. (500 words or less)
    • What do you envision doing after you graduate? (500 words or less)
  4. Selection of 3 research projects to be considered for. The open research opportunities will be updated in Fall 2019 for the 2020 program. In the meantime, interested students should check out the past research projects (see below) to get a sense of the types of research opportunities supported by the program.

Any questions may be directed to the Stanford ChEM-H Scientific Program Manager, Dr. Katherine Alfieri,

Past Projects 




Undergraduate Scholars in the News

Fulbright Program awards grants to graduating seniors, alumni and graduate students

Nate Hansen, a 2016 ChEM-H Undergraduate Scholar, was one of twenty Stanford students and alumni to receive a 2018-19 Fulbright grant.

Read More

Digging into the genetic recipe book

Stanford ChEM-H Undergraduate Scholar Allison Keys and her postdoc mentor Daniel Le are co-authors on a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their faculty mentor, Polly Fordyce, discusses the paper in an interview.


Prakash Lab Paperfuge Wins 2017 Index Design's Play & Learning Award

A ChEM-H mentor-mentee pair contributed to the development of the award winning paperfuge.


Stanford juniors selected as Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholars

Stanford ChEM-H Undergraduate Scholar Aanchal Johri was one of two Stanford undergraduates selected for the public service scholarship and is being recognized for her commitment to advancing human health in resource-limited communities.


Inspired by a whirligig toy, Stanford bioengineers develop a 20-cent, hand-powered blood centrifuge

Stanford bioengineers have developed an ultra-low-cost, human-powered blood centrifuge. With rotational speeds of up to 125,000 revolutions per minute, the device separates blood plasma from red cells in 1.5 minutes, no electricity required.


AIF-Stanford Medtech Awards: Another Legacy of Our Symposium on Maternal and Child Health

ChEM-H Undergraduate Scholar Aanchal Johri accepted the AIF-Stanford MedTech Award for Most Innovative Field-tested Prototype for a low cost paper-based centrifuge that she helped develop with postdoc mentor Saad Bhamla in the lab of ChEM-H Faculty Fellow Manu Prakash.


Meet Paperfuge, the Biomedical Centrifuge Inspired By a Toy

Saad Bhamla, postdoc mentor in the ChEM-H Undergraduate Scholars Program, and his undergraduate researcher Aanchal Johri contributed to the development of a paper centrifuge inspired by a whirligig toy.


Information for Postdoc Mentor Applicants