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Summer Cancer Research Fellowship

Dr. Fleming with 2021 fellows Dr. Fleming with 2021 winner Dr. Fleming and Dr. Hayes with a fellow

The UTHSC Summer Cancer Research Fellowship (SCRF) offers an incredible chance for medical students to experience a summer research opportunity in projects ranging from bench science, pre-clinical studies, bioinformatics, to clinical studies. Students will gain cutting edge research experience on hypothesis-driven projects with 1:1 mentoring from principal investigators (PIs) who are Cancer Center members in basic science, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, medical oncology, physical therapy, or other cancer-related fields. The SCRF is funded by the Center for Cancer Research. Eligible candidates are UTHSC medical students who have completed their first year of medical school (rising M2 students). 

Deadline is March 31 each year, midnight Central time local to UTHSC.

Summer Research Program Overview

For more information on the program, contact UTHSC Center for Cancer Research.

What does the SCRF experience look like?

The 8-week program includes weekly “lunch and learn” series with guest speakers on training grants, biostatistics, clinical studies, writing IRB and IACUC protocols, among other guest speakers specific to the student’s projects. Students also provide weekly updates or hurdles they have encountered to the directors of the SCRF for additional mentoring and feedback from peers. Fellows in the SCRF will also be exposed to weekly Cancer Center Grand Round seminars as well as the Cancer Center Research in Progress series. By the end of the 8-week program, students will present a capstone presentation in the Cancer Center followed by a question and answer session. Awards will be given for students with exceptional presentations. 

SCRF Mission Statement and Program Goals
The mission of the SCRF is to encourage students to pursue future opportunities in cancer research or careers in oncology. Some SCRF students elect to enroll in the UTHSC PhD program to be awarded an MD/PhD dual degree. The SCRF directors and Cancer Center leadership encourage students to seek advice on the dual degree and F30 grant opportunities at the NIH. 
Accomplishments of Previous SCRF Awardees
More than 50 students have been awarded the SCRF since its inception in 2014. Students have published as lead or co-author on manuscripts in journals such as Cell Reports, Clinical Cancer Research, Molecular Cancer Research, Surgical Oncology, and Nature Communications. Students have contributed to abstracts presented at such meetings as American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Surgical Congress (ASC), and San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Students have won awards such as the Esther Tsai Sugg award from the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons to Aaron Baer (SCRF fellow 2019) or the UTHSC College of Graduate Health Sciences Hal and Alma Reagan Fellowship to Jeremiah Holt (MD/PhD candidate and SCRF fellow 2018). Unfortunately, the 2020 SCRF was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SCRF Mentors and Projects
Mentors and possible projects may be found on the UTHSC College of Medicine Student Committee on Research in Education (SCORE) or through the UTHSC Center for Cancer Research Database for Cancer Center Members. Cancer Center members fall into one of four programs: Cancer Cell Biology, Cancer Prevention and Control, Chemical Biology, and Clinical Research. Members come from across all of UTHSC from the College of Medicine to the College of Pharmacy to College of Health Professionals, among others. Research topics include immunotherapy, chemotherapy resistance, developmental biology, pharmacokinetic and pharmacology research. Clinical projects include analysis of patient data, exposures, and treatments or literature reviews and case reports

SCRF Application Guidelines 

Please provide an up-to-date CV.

No letters of reference are needed. 

We aim to inspire and encourage diversity in cancer research and practice. Underrepresented minorities (URMs), women, and those with other diverse backgrounds (financial hardships, first in family to go to college) are encouraged to apply.

Specifics of the UTHSC Summer Cancer Research Fellowship (SCRF)
  1. First announcements are emailed to M1 students in November each year. Only UTHSC medical students are eligible. Students are encouraged to contact potential mentors early.
  2. Early December the directors of the SCRF host an information session.
  3. Deadline is March 31 each year, midnight Central time local to UTHSC.
  4. April - Announcement of selected Fellows
  5. May - Work with mentors on training needs before rotation
  6. Early June: SCRF student orientation prior to fellowship
  7. End of July – Capstone Powerpoint presentation of projects by each fellow with awards given.
  8. Stipends are awarded half of the fellowship award at the start of the program and the other half at the conclusion of the program.
Additional Notes


  • Daily schedules are coordinated with your mentor and their team depending on project needs with full time involvement expected.
  • UTHSC holidays are official days off.
  • Other days taken off must be decided with your PI.

Social Media

Follow the UTHSC Center for Cancer Research on Twitter for news and announcements. @UTHSC_Cancer

Contact Information

Questions, comments and proposal submissions can be sent to the UTHSC Center for Cancer Research at


UTHSC College of Medicine Summer Cancer Research Fellowship (SCRF) is co-directed by the Associate Directors for Education and Development in the UTHSC Center for Cancer Research:

Dr. Martin Fleming

Martin Fleming, MD
Professor and Chief of Surgical Oncology, 
Founder of the SCRF program

Dr. Liza Makowski

Liza Makowski, PhD




May 26, 2022