Undergraduate Opportunities

VI4 Germs, Defenses, & Diseases Undergraduate Research Program


The Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation (VI4) Germs, Defenses, & Diseases (GDD) Research Program provides two research training opportunities:   

  1. One opportunity is part-time that that runs through the school year. This is a great opportunity for sophomores, juniors and seniors attending Vanderbilt or a college/university in the Nashville area.   
  2. The other opportunity is full-time and runs during the summer months. This opportunity is available to all rising sophomores, juniors and seniors.    


The objectives of the GDD Undergraduate Research Program are three-fold:

  • To provide substantive research experience to undergraduate students in areas of infection, immunology and inflammatory diseases, and pathophysiology
  • To provide opportunities to learn critical thinking through review of the literature and presentations of research papers
  • To prepare students for careers is biomedical science research and education 


  • Sophomores, juniors and seniors or rising sophomores, juniors and seniors
  • GPA 3.0 or higher
  • Must have taken college biology, chemistry and/or biochemistry
  • Letter of recommendation from a biology or chemistry course director/instructor
  • US citizens, permanent residents and international students will be considered

Additional Information:   

Recruitment to the research opportunity during the school year is through faculty nominations. Nominations are solicited from the VI4 research faculty by the program coordinator in September/October of each year. Students are welcome to contact Sebastian Joyce, directly by email, regarding nominations and participation in the program. Names and contact information of research faculty can be found at the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation site. In some cases, financial support may be available through a work study program. Most students use this opportunity to earn research credits as part of their undergraduate degree program. Financial support is not provided for research leading to course credits. To learn more about this research opportunity, contact Sebastian Joyce.

Recruitment to the summer research opportunity is through applications to the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy (VSSA). VI4 will support one or two Research Scholarships for the summer program, each up to $5,000.00 for the entire period to cover living expenses. This summer program starts at the beginning of June and runs for the next 9—10 consecutive weeks. The summer program has two components: laboratory research and seminars. The seminar series is organized by the VSSA. Questions regarding eligibility and applications can be directed to vssa@vanderbilt.edu. Questions regarding VI4 research Scholarship can be directed to the program coordinator. Online application deadline for the summer program is 1 February of each year; click here to start the application through the VSSA.

Questions? Contact the VI4 Germs, Defenses, & Diseases Program Coordinator, Dr. Sebastian Joyce.