Summer Minority Medical Students

Through the Summer Research Training Program for Minority Medical Students, under-represented minority medical school students have the opportunity to participate in a 2 to 3 month summer research training experience working in the laboratory of a program preceptor. The Program for Training in Sleep, Circadian and Respiratory Neurobiology, at Harvard Medical School and Affiliated Institutions, strongly encourages underrepresented minority applicants to all of its programs.

Applications are currently being accepted for the summer of 2018. Admissions will be made on a rolling basis; hence, it is best to apply early.  Two letters of recommendation should be sent directly to the Program Administrator, separate from the application. Applicants are encouraged to include a brief cover statement with their application, and to specify which of the projects noted below might hold particular interest for them. The Summer Minority Medical Student application form, recommendation form, and personal data sheet to be included with your application packet are available on the forms and resources page.

Three important features of our Summer Research Training Program for Minority Medical Students are:


·                     The ability to offer expert training in physiology and pathophysiology in both human and experimental animal models of human sleep disorders.

·                     The ability to provide specific training in molecular and genetic approaches to the study of sleep and circadian rhythm disorders.

·                     A broad scope of disciplines and a variety of methodological approaches are available for training within the field of sleep, circadian and respiratory physiology and neurobiology research.

Summer 2015 projects

Emery N. Brown, MD, PhD
Dr. Brown's statistics research uses likelihood, Bayesian, state-space, time-series and point process approaches to develop statistical methods and signal-processing algorithms for neuroscience data analysis. These methods have been used to: characterize how neurons represent information in their ensemble firing patterns; characterize the dynamics of neural receptive field formation; relate changes in neural activity to changes in performance during learning; improve signal extraction from fMR imaging time-series; localize dynamically brain sources of neural activity from EEG and MEG recordings made during cognitive, motor and somatosensory tasks; measure the period of the human biological clock and its sensitivity to light; and characterize the dynamics of human heart beats in physiological and pathological states. Dr. Brown's experimental research takes a systems neuroscience approach to study how the state of general anesthesia is induced and maintained. It uses fMRI, EEG, neurophysiological recordings, microdialysis methods and mathematical modeling in interdisciplinary collaborations with investigators at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University.

Jeanne F. Duffy, MBA, PhD Dr. Jeanne Duffy and her research team are interested in understanding how age-related changes in sleep quality and duration affect waking performance, mood, and memory. Recent studies suggest healthy older adults can better maintain some types of performance under acute sleep deprivation than can younger adults, even though their nighttime sleep quality and duration is worse. Dr. Duffy and team's current 39-day inpatient study schedules both older and young adults to chronic sleep restriction (the equivalent of 6 h sleep per 24 h for 3 weeks) and tests waking alertness, performance, attention, mood and memory throughout these 3 weeks, as well as during a follow-up sleep extension (10 h sleep per night for 1 week).  A summer student in this group will assist the research team in ongoing study execution and data collection from study participants, and will analyze subjective mood ratings from participants.  In particular, Dr. Duffy and team are interested in how mood changes throughout the waking episode, how the time of day (circadian phase) affects mood, how mood changes across days and weeks of sleep restriction, and how mood is related to performance measures.

Elizabeth B. Klerman, MD, PhD Dr. Klerman and colleagues are interested in (1) developing new methods of analysis of circadian rhythms, sleep, hormones and performance and mood data and (2) mathematical modeling of human circadian and sleep rhythms and their effect on performance and mood under a variety of conditions (3) inter-individual variability in human circadian rhythms, sleep, performance and mood.

Janet Mullington, PhD and her colleagues investigate the role of sleep and the effects of sleep loss in the functioning of the inflammatory system in healthy humans. Further investigations involve the study of pain sensitivity in individuals suffering from insomnia. Students this summer will have opportunities to be involved in either line of research.

Robert Stickgold, PhD Dr. Stickgold and his colleagues investigate the sleep-dependent aspects of cognition, focusing on the roles of sleep and dreaming in off-line memory reprocessing. In examining the role of sleep in cognitive processes, Dr. Stickgold’s work aims to define, delineate, and demonstrate sleep's role in perception, learning, memory, and emotions, with a focus on sleep as a process that evolved to enhance the consolidation and integration of memories. More recently, this work has been extended into studies of alterations in sleep-dependent learning in schizophrenics and of dreaming in amnesiacs.



Our Summer Training Program in Sleep, Circadian and Respiratory Neurobiology exists in parallel with the student’s training that they receive at the Medical School in which they are enrolled. Students accepted to this program will receive a stipend of $1,028 per month for up to three months. Supplementary funding may also be available through a student’s home institution. More information helpful to students coming to Boston for the summer can be found through the 'Forms and Resources' link below.

The Program for Training in Sleep, Circadian and Respiratory Neurobiology is designed to provide a structured, comprehensive opportunity to train outstanding individuals for academic positions with specific expertise in basic science, patient-oriented or applied research. General resources and environment available to trainees are described in detail in the Program Description.


All Related Links

Research Training Program main page

Program Description (overview)

Program Faculty (descriptions of research interests)

Pre-doctoral Trainee Program Description

Postdoctoral Trainee Program Description

Trainees' Portal Page

Administrative Resources and Training Support

Eligibility Guidelines for prospective applicants

Finding housing in Boston, and other guidance for summer students

Forms and Resources page (find all forms, application materials, eligibility guidelines, orientation packet, FAQs and other help)





All Related Links
Research Training Program main page
Program Description (overview)
Program Faculty (descriptions of research interests)
Pre-doctoral Trainee Program Description
Postdoctoral Trainee Program Description
Trainees' Portal Page
Administrative Resources and Training Support
Eligibility Guidelines for prospective applicants
Finding housing in Boston, and other guidance for summer students
Forms and Resources page (find all forms, application materials, eligibility guidelines, orientation packet, FAQs and other help)

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