Medical Student Research Internship Program

Van Andel Institute (VAI) offers a 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 Zoom. 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 Process

Applications will be accepted starting December 2020. Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling basis from December 2020 through March 2021 for medical student internships with employment start dates between April 1, 2021 – November 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 be currently enrolled and in good standing with their medical school.

Van Andel Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Affirmative Action Employer. We strongly encourage undergraduate student applicants from minority serving institutions including historically black colleges & universities, tribal colleges & universities and Hispanic serving institutions, as well as McNair Scholars. 

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. Van Andel Institute does not sponsor visas for interns.

Interview Selection Process

Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling basis from December 2020 through March 2021 for internships with employment start dates between April 1, 2021 – November 1, 2021. Completed applications will be reviewed by the Undergraduate & Internship Program Committee, as well as the VAI faculty and core directors/managers. 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 Research Internship Program positions will be contingent upon the satisfactory results of a Background Investigation and Drug Screen. 

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 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 for the summer:

  • Memorial Day – Monday, May 31, 2021
  • Independence Day – Monday, July 5, 2021 (observed)
  • Labor Day – Monday, September 6, 2021

Local area colleges/universities may have student housing available. 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 VAI research laboratories to identify your top five labs of interest.
  • Prepare a single PDF file including the following two (2) documents as an attachment for your online application:
    • A cover letter to introduce why you would like to participate in this summer internship and your career goals.
    • A resume that includes your education, research experience, skills, volunteer experience, and publications (if any).
  • 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 Research Internship Program
Van Andel Institute Graduate / Van Andel Institute
333 Bostwick Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2518

Online Application

Complete VAI’s online employment application thoroughly, in addition to uploading your cover letter and resume as a single PDF file.