AHA Undergraduate Student Research Fellowships @ UCSD

AHA - Summer Undergraduate Student Fellowships

Program information

AHA@UCSD The Departments of Medicine and Bioengineering as well as the Academic Enrichment Program at UC San Diego are proud to partner with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, to enable 5 undergraduate students with the possibility for a 10 week research experience during the summer of 2019.

The objective of the award is to encourage students from all disciplines to consider research careers in areas that are relevant for the mission of the AHA. Student from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented minorities are particularly encouraged to apply for this fellowship experience.

Scholarships will be awarded for the following years: 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The 2019 Application period is now CLOSED

2018 AHA Summer Undergraduate Awardees

AHA-2018 scholars
The 2018 AHA scholars and mentors.

We congratulate the following 2018 AHA@UCSD Summer Undergraduate Scholarship Awardees for their successful application.

Name Home Institute/College Host Laboratory
Amador Lagunas UC San Diego Omens Laboratory
Ryann Callaghan Drew University Purcell Laboratory
Solana Garcia Northeastern University Sheikh Laboratory
Madison Clark Cal Poly Pomona Lange Laboratory
Mason Zhu UCSD Chen Laboratory

2017 AHA Summer Undergraduate Awardees

AHA-2017 scholars
The 2017 AHA scholars and mentors.

Please expand to see more information on the 2017 awardees.

We congratulate the following 2017 AHA@UCSD Summer Undergraduate Scholarship Awardees for their successful application and completion of the fellowship.

Name Home Institute/College Host Laboratory
Akhilesh Yeluru UC San Diego Omens Laboratory
Michael Wang UC San Diego Chen Laboratory
Matthew Wright Cal Poly Pomona Lange Laboratory
Mandy Che UC San Diego Sheikh Laboratory
Isabella Restrepo-Toro The College of St. Scholastica Purcell Laboratory

News coverage

UCSD News article covering 2017 AHA undergraduate Mandy Che's research in Dr. Sheikh's laboratory.

AHA-2017 scholars


Trainee Stipend/Salary: $4,000 per student for the 10-week summer research experience.
A limited number of travel and living subsidies may be available for the student. Details will be announced to finalists.

Timeline and important dates for the upcoming scholarships

January 15, 2019 Start of application period.
February, 15 2019 Student application deadline:
February 15, 2019
6pm Pacific Standard Time (PST)
March/April 2019 Matching of students with PI-laboratories and finalizing of research projects.
Notification of award to selected students.
May-August 2019 10 weeks of fellowship experience that includes the following elements:
  • Work in a participating laboratory on a specific research project
  • Training in laboratory safety and laboratory techniques
  • Seminars in research ethics, basic methodologies in biomedical research
  • Attendance of the UCSD Summer Research Conference, the Alternative Muscle Club
  • Networking events with fellow AHA research students
September 2019 Deadline for the submission of the project results (3 pages):
September 1, 2019.

Student eligibility

Please expand to see student eligibility requirements.
Please be aware that you need to meet ALL requirements to be considered for the fellowship.

Undergraduate Students

  • To be eligible for this program, an undergraduate student must be classified at the junior or senior academic status at the time of award activation, or may complete the fellowship during the summer immediately following graduation.

  • A student who was previously supported by an AHA summer fellowship may apply for an additional fellowship in a subsequent year. However, a student who has been supported by two AHA undergraduate summer fellowships is no longer eligible to apply. An application for a second undergraduate fellowship should be well-justified.
    The student can hold only the AHA summer undergraduate scholarship during the time of the award.

  • Student must be enrolled full-time or a recent graduate of an undergraduate degree program at a four-year college or university. Student must either attend an institution within the Affiliate or be a resident of a state within the Affiliate.
    Note - The following states fall within the affiliate - Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington

  • At the time of application, student must be a United States citizen, or a foreign national holding a student, exchange or permanent resident visa, including an F-1, H1, H1B, J1, PR, TC or TN visa.

  • Students are not required to reside in the U.S. for any period of time before applying for American Heart Association funding.

  • Students have to be able to finish the program in the allocated time over the summer.

Participating Research Laboratories

Students can select up to two laboratories as their top choice for the research application. The selection committee and laboratory PI will work with the finalists of the fellowship application to formalize a project for the 10 week summer research experience. Please select expand to see participating laboratories at UCSD

Laboratory PI

Research Area & additional information

Ju Chen, PhD
Professor of Medicine
AHA Endowed Chair
Director of Basic Cardiac Research
School of Medicine
UC San Diego
Dr. Chen’s laboratory investigates cardiac and skeletal muscle myopathies. His research focuses on disease associated mutations to sarcomere-associated proteins. Projects in his lab revolve around myofibrillar and sarcomere associated proteins, such as FHL1, Cypher, and use genetic, physiological and biochemical techniques.
More information can be found on the lab homepage.
Stephan Lange, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Medicine
UC San Diego
Dr. Lange’s research is focused on studying muscle development, signaling and maintenance, by studying the biological role of sarcomeric and muscle associated proteins. Research projects in Dr. Lange’s laboratory investigate signaling pathways that at are responsible for the development of dilated cardiomyopathy, and which involve cardiac functions of muscle ankyrin repeat proteins. Students would be trained in biochemical, cell-biological, molecular and genetic techniques to investigate functions of cardiac signaling pathways.
More information can be found on the lab homepage.
Jeff Omens, PhD
Department of Bioengineering
UC San Diego
Dr. Omen is interested in biomechanics of cardiac contraction and cardiac disease mechanisms. Projects in his lab investigate passive and active mechanics of the normal and diseased hearts, instrumentation development for biomechanical and functional measurements in the mouse heart, and computational modeling of cardiac function.
More information can be found on the lab homepage.
Nicole Purcell, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Medicine
UC San Diego
Dr. Purcell studies different aspects of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular physiology, principally focusing on changes in cellular signaling due to phosphatase removal in normal physiology and disease states. Students working on projects in Dr. Purcell’s laboratory would receive training in physiology, molecular and cell-biology.
More information can be found on the lab homepage.
Farah Sheikh, PhD
Associate Professor
School of Medicine
UC San Diego
Dr. Sheikh’s work evolves around molecular mechanisms for the development of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Projects in her lab investigate proteins of the cardiac intercalated disc, specifically proteins of the desmosome complex that are involved in the disease mechanism.

Required documents

To establish student eligibility and help in the selection of the student into the program, we require the following documents. Only complete applications will be evaluated!
Please select expand to see the list.

  • GPA and/or unofficial transcripts

  • A personal statement from the student (~1000 words) that outlines the importance of the program for his/her professional career development. The statement should also encompass the students testimony on increasing diversity.

  • 2 letters of reference: the student should alert faculty members from the student's college to provide letters on the students behalf. Reference letters by non-faculty members, like postdocs or supervisors on projects are also permissible. Letters should always be sent from a professional email address - i.e. reference letters received from non professional email addresses (e.g. gmail) will not be accepted.
    The letters should be sent on or before February 15, 2019, to this email address: aha@ucsd.edu

  • An up-to-date CV or biosketch, that includes information on any prior research experience.

Application process

Select expand to see information on the application process for the undergraduate student fellowship. Please be aware that you need to meet ALL requirements to be considered for the fellowship.

Undergraduate Students

  • Review all requirements and gather documents needed to apply for the undergraduate fellowship.

  • Notify your referees to provide letters of reference on your behalf within the deadline.

  • Please use the link below to start the application process.

  • Online Application Form