In November of 2014, the March of Dimes joined with the University of Pennsylvania and other leading hospitals to launch the fourth transdisciplinary research center aimed exclusively at finding what causes preterm birth. The March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates the commitment and enthusiasm of a team of accomplished investigators and faculty as they come together in this transdisciplinary and cross-institutional effort to solve the mysteries of preterm birth.

Preterm Birth Research Undergraduate Summer Program

The March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce a summer research program for Penn undergraduate students. 

Program Description

Preterm birth is a global public health problem.  15 million babies are born preterm annually and complications from preterm birth are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years.  The March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania is one of 5 national centers dedicated to identifying the causes of preterm birth that will result in more effective strategies to prevent preterm birth in the future.  At Penn we have a transdisciplinary team of investigators with expertise in obstetrics, pediatrics, neonatology, genetics, metabolism, cell and developmental biology, bioengineering, microbiology, and reproductive biology working together to solve this problem.

This 10-week program is designed to expose undergraduate students to transdisciplinary research on preterm birth with an assigned research mentor.  Students will also have an opportunity to observe in the clinics and the hospital.   

Program Eligibility

  • Current full-time undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania with a major in the sciences or engineering, ideally in sophomore or junior year.
  • An interest in exploring research in preterm birth and considering a career or graduate studies in a health-related field or bioengineering.
  • Underrepresented minority students are encouraged to apply.

Program Requirements

  • Students will be assigned to an investigator’s research laboratory for a full-time hands-on research experience. 
  • Training in responsible conduct of research.
  • Attend weekly laboratory meetings and journal club.
  • Present their research at the Prematurity Research Center’s summer retreat.


Each student will receive a $2500 stipend.

To apply

  • Submit an application no later than March 1, 2017.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation from a faculty member familiar with your course work or prior research.
  • Copy of undergraduate transcript.

Download Application

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