Summer Research Internship Program in Biomedical Informatics

The Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Informatics is designed to provide students from diverse backgrounds with a high quality Biomedical Informatics research experience; thereby encouraging students to consider pursuing PhDs and research careers in the field. Biomedical Informatics is the interdisciplinary science of acquiring, structuring, analyzing and providing access to biomedical data, information and knowledge. As an academic discipline, biomedical informatics is grounded in the principles of computer science, information science, cognitive science, social science, and engineering, as well as the clinical and basic biological sciences. Exceptional students from any of these disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Our program introduces students to the field through faculty-mentored projects that will allow each student to actively apply information technology to address health care challenges. These projects result in a final report and presentation. In addition, students will participate in a seminar series with lectures given by leading Biomedical Informatics researchers.

Our department is the largest academic department of Biomedical Informatics in the country, with more than 65 faculty members and a portfolio of research and development projects that spans from computational biology and bioinformatics applied to the understanding of biological molecules, through advanced clinical information systems that care for hundreds of thousands of patients at Vanderbilt, to collaborative regional and national research initiatives.

Summer internship students will also benefit by their association with the broader Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy (VSSA). The VSSA provides enrichment seminars that include guidance and preparation for entrance exams to graduate school that will help construct a strong foundation on which to build scientific careers. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about our PhD Program in Biomedical Informatics and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) at Vanderbilt University.

Funding and Eligibility

Positions are funded by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), and internal funds.

The T15 Training Grant: these positions are for students from diverse backgrounds, and women.  Their purpose is to supplement initiatives the training program already has in place to increase diversity.  The short-term trainee may be an undergraduate or graduate student, physician or veterinarian with an interest in a career in biomedical informatics.  Financial support includes a monthly stipend; these are full-time appointments, thus students are expected to devote 40 hours per week to the project (no paid holiday or vacation time will be allowed). Available number of positions: 4

NLM R25 Grant: is a collaboration with Fisk and Meharry University to support diverse students in Data Science. Financial support is provided. Students are expected to devote 40 hours per week to the project (no paid holiday or vacation time will be allowed). Available number of positions: 6

NSF REU Site (REU-PATHI): these positions are available for undergraduate students. Financial support is provided. Students are expected to devote 40 hours per week to the project (no paid holiday or vacation time will be allowed) for the full 10 weeks of the program. Available number of positions: 10

High School Students: these positions are designed for students with an interest in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science to receive exposure to the field of biomedical informatics and encourage students to pursue PhDs in the field. Available number of positions: 2-4. Priority will be given to Metro Nashville Public Schools students in the application review process. We are unable to consider students from outside of the Nashville region for this program.

Vanderbilt residence hall housing is available for undergraduate and graduate students requiring summer housing. All students are required to attend the Summer Seminar Series and to give a short presentation of the research experience at the end of the internship.

Eligibility and Application

  • A background in programming and a moderate understanding of using computer technology is an advantage. The specific prerequisites for a research project will be addressed by the faculty mentor.
    The link to the application is:
  • Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident. 

Key Dates (subject to change):

Application Deadline: February 15, 2023 (review of applications will begin before this date; applications received after this date will not be considered)

Start Date: May 30, 2023

End Date: August 4, 2023

Summer Seminar

The Summer Seminar Series is intended to acquaint interns with a wide range of informatics research questions, methods, and approaches. During these talks, faculty members share their own personal experiences to demonstrate ways in which clinicians and scientists from a range of disciplines can become engaged in biomedical informatics research. The seminars are informal with ample time devoted to questions and answers thus producing an interactive environment in which students are encouraged to participate. At the end of the Seminar Series, interns will present their research to an audience of other interns, full-time students, and faculty. REU-Pathi website


Kim Unertl, PhD,
Assistant Professor

Rischelle Jenkins
Program Manager


Last updated on 10/10/2022