Medical Student Summer Research Internship Program

Program Details

Van Andel Institute (VAI) offers a summer research internship program designed to provide medical students the opportunity to work closely with a research mentor on a project exploring the cellular, molecular and genetic basis of human disease. The goal of this program is to introduce medical students to the concepts and practice of design, implementation, interpretation and presentation of basic biomedical research.

We expect to support two internships, depending on the needs of the Institute’s faculty and core directors/managers. This program is competitive, based on recommendations, previous experience and a personal meeting, telephone interview or interview via Skype. Students are expected to work full-time for the duration of the internship, so participation in this program is not compatible with working at another job.

2021 Application Deadline

The application deadline for the 2021 Medical Student Summer Research Internship Program is February 1, 2021.

Program Timeline

The internship will be a six to nine-week research experience based on the time availability of the applicant.


Each applicant’s internship will be based on their research interests selected on the application form. Each experience will be different based on the research question, mentor and status of the project. Work environments include any of the basic science laboratories and core technologies at VAI.


Medical students must currently be enrolled and in good standing their current year of medical school.

International students are eligible to apply if they meet the requirements for the program and are legally permitted to work and earn income in the United States. The Institute will not sponsor visas for summer-only employment.

Interview Selection Process

Completed applications will be reviewed by the Undergraduate & Internship Program Committee, and by VAI faculty and core directors/managers after February 1, 2021. Applicants selected for interviews are generally contacted by mid-February and employment offers are usually extended by end of February. Any inquiries regarding your application should be made via e-mail to undergrad@vai.edu; inquiries will receive responses as information becomes available.

All offers for the Medical Student Summer Research Internship Program positions will be contingent upon the satisfactory results of a Background Investigation and Drug Screen.

VAI is actively striving to diversify its workforce and strongly encourages qualified individuals from underrepresented groups to apply. Van Andel Institute is an EEO and Affirmative Action Employer.

Program Details

Physical Demands
Assignments may involve the use of potentially hazardous chemicals, hazardous or radioactive materials, or may be in areas where such materials are used. Adherence to safety policies and procedures along with proper storage and disposal methods are required.

The Medical Student Summer Research Internship Program will be limited to a 40 hour work week with pay at $15/hr.   

Summer Holidays
Student Interns are not eligible for holiday pay on the following days VAI officially closes for business:

  • Memorial Day – Monday, May 24, 2021
  • Independence Day – Monday, July 5, 2021 (observed)

Local area colleges/universities may have student housing available for summer sessions. Students are responsible for their own travel, housing, room and board.

If you require additional information on housing options, please contact Michelle Love at undergrad@vai.edu.

Students will have the option to purchase a $15 parking pass for the ramp on Michigan St., directly across from the Institute.

Before you Apply

  • Please review Van Andel Institute’s (VAI) research website to determine your top research areas of interest (cancer biology, epigenetics, metabolism, neurobiology and structural biology).
  • Please review VAI research laboratories to identify your top five labs of interest.
  • Please review VAI core technologies to identify your top three core technologies of interest.
  • Prepare a resume (PDF format) that includes your education, research experience, volunteer experience, and publications (if any).
  • Combine your cover letter and resume as a single PDF file before submitting your online application.
  • Request a letter of good standing from your medical school (Academic Dean’s Office, Academic Student Affairs or Academic Affairs) to be mailed to the address below.
  • Two (2) current letters of recommendation: Ask professors, research mentors and/or supervisors to submit letters of recommendation, on institute letterhead, in PDF electronic format to undergrad@vai.edu or mail to:

Undergraduate & Internship Program Committee (98001/VAIGS)
Medical Student Summer Research Internship Program
Van Andel Institute Graduate / Van Andel Institute
333 Bostwick Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2518

Online Application

The deadline to apply for the 2020 medical student research summer internship program has passed. The application process for the 2021 medical student research summer internship program will begin in December.