Note: We are no longer accepting 2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Internship applications.  

Please check back later this year for information about the 2024 Summer Undergraduate Research Internship.

The Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI) Summer Undergraduate Research Internship (SURI) is a research-intensive, nine-week program for undergraduate students who have an interest in pursuing a career in the biomedical sciences and who have completed at least one year of study at a university or college. Interns will work on a research project within the laboratory of their primary mentor and will present their work as a short talk at our annual Intern Research Symposium. As a group, the interns will participate in additional scientific, career development, and social activities.

Students who identify as African American, Hispanic, Native American, Southeast Asian, Native Alaskan or Native Pacific Islander or another group historically excluded from the sciences OR who are from low-income homes OR who are the first in their family to attend college OR who attend two-year colleges or small liberal arts institutions without broad research facilities are strongly encouraged to apply. PNRI labs host interns through partnerships with universities and local nonprofit organizations, like Rainier Scholars. We are honored to play a role in building the career of future scientists.

Participation Includes

  • Conducting scientific research in a biomedical research lab.
  • Participating in scientific seminars, journal clubs, and career development activities.
  • Interacting with scientists from a variety of different disciplines, including genetics, evolutionary biology, engineering, medicine, and computer science.
  • Learning about career options in the fields of science, math, engineering, and medicine.
  • Presenting the results of your research to your peers and colleagues.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must be a current college undergraduate having completed at least one year of study.
  • Must have a strong interest in science, medicine, math, or engineering.
  • Must be able to commit 30 hours per week for a minimum of nine (9) consecutive weeks between Monday, June 12 and Friday, September 1, 2023. Specific dates will be determined with consideration to each student’s academic calendar and their host lab’s availability.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.


  • Interns will receive $18.69 per hour during the 30-hour per week, 9-week internship.
  • PNRI will provide a free ORCA card for local public transportation to each intern.
  • Interns are responsible for all costs associated with their travel to and from Seattle and are responsible for their housing, meals, and local transportation costs.

Hosting Labs

Claudia Carvalho, PhD

The Carvalho Lab applies state-of-the-art molecular sequencing technologies to investigate the genome of individuals with rare diseases. Our goal is to investigate disease-specific genomic alterations to understand how they contribute to disease expression and the mechanisms underlying DNA variation formation. Students will learn human genetics and analysis of next-generation sequencing data in the context of diseases. Potential projects will allow interns to learn and use various technologies and methodologies to study the structure of the genome.

The Dudley Lab studies how naturally occurring genetic variation leads to the stunning array of phenotypic diversity that we see on the planet. As an undergraduate intern in our lab, you will use a combination of classic microbiology, modern genomics, and high throughput robotics to discover which mutations in human genes could cause disease. Potential projects will focus on genes that cause rare childhood diseases in which rapid diagnosis can positively impact a patient’s health outcome.

Aimée Dudley, PhD

Rick McLaughlin, PhD

The McLaughlin Lab studies genome evolution with a particular interest in the evolutionary arms race between our genomes and pathogens like viruses and transposons. As an undergraduate intern in our lab, you will use a combination of molecular and computational biology to explore how our innate immune genes evolve to stop pathogens and the diseases that result when our immune system falters. Potential projects will focus on studying new genes that contribute to our ability to prevent disease and how pathogen replication could drive autoimmune disease.

The Metzger Lab studies a transmissible cancer in clams in which the cancer cells themselves jump from animal to animal through the environment. As an undergraduate intern in our lab, you will use a combination of experimental and computational techniques to grow clam cancer cells in the lab, analyze cancer genomes, and detect cancer-specific DNA in seawater. Potential projects will focus on understanding how cancer can evolve and how host animals can become resistant to it.

Michael Metzger, PhD

How to Apply

Applications are accepted from December 19, 2022 to February 24, 2023 and will be reviewed upon receipt, with interviews conducted (via Zoom) in early March 2023.

Please submit the following items via Handshake:

  • Résumé, which should include a brief description of the science, math, and computer science classes you have taken.
  • One-page statement describing 1) how participation in the internship will enhance your education and career goals; 2) which lab(s) most interest(s) you and why.

We encourage applicants to review our “Tips for Submitting a Quality Application” below.

We encourage students to submit their application before the deadline. An abundance of last-minute submissions can overwhelm the application portal, which may result in upload failure. The same suggestion applies to uploading letters of recommendation. We are unable to accept any late submissions.

The application for the SURI program is now live at Handshake!

Tips for Submitting a Quality Application

The SURI is a competitive program. While adhering to the following recommendations does not guarantee acceptance into the program, it does improve your chances of creating a successful application.

  • Review PNRI hosting lab information to identify faculty whose research is of interest to you.
  • Give yourself adequate time to prepare a thoughtful, detailed application. Relevant information includes but is not limited to explaining:
    • In which hosting lab would you be interested in gaining research experience and why.
    • How the focus of the lab relates to your research interests (e.g., classic microbiology, modern genomics, transmissible cancer, high throughput robotics, and/or analysis of next-generation sequencing data).
    • How the SURI opportunity may further your academic and career goals.
  • Before submitting your application:
    • Proofread your application materials by thoroughly reviewing your responses and supporting materials for accuracy and completeness. Given the number of applications received and in fairness to other applicants, the program is unable to accept late or revised materials.
  • Ask others to review your application materials.
    • Ask friends, professors, or faculty advisors to review your statement and provide suggestions for your consideration.

Travel, Housing & Local Transportation Information

Interns may identify potential housing opportunities by contacting the Intern Housing programs at the schools listed below. Each housing program sets its own application period, with the application process opening between January and March.

Contact Information

Please feel free to reach out to PNRI SURI staff at with any questions.

About PNRI

PNRI is an independent, nonprofit, biomedical research institute with a distinguished history of contributing scientific advances to improve health in a variety of disease areas.

PNRI is committed to creating a diverse environment and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, citizenship status, disability, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, or any protected category prohibited by local, state, or federal laws. Please see for more information.