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Blazer Broadening Representation And Inclusion in Neuroscience (Blazer BRAIN) is an undergraduate summer program with two equally important goals. First is to provide motivated undergraduates who have demonstrated scientific excellence, an immersion summer research experience to participate in discovery neuroscience. Second, Blazer BRAIN is designed to increase student competitiveness for entry into Ph.D. focused graduate education by involving students in an intensive professional development program. The application process will select students with limited research opportunities at their home institutions. Students entering their junior or senior year by the start of the program are particularly encouraged to apply. Without exception, applicants must be US citizens/nationals.

Research ProjectSPIN logo 10 with words

How do you know whether you want a career in biomedical science if all you have ever done are boring experiments designed to work during a 2 hour lab course? That’s equivalent to thinking you can solve a murder like they do on TV, it is not real world science. Real world science is a mess of complexity, frustration, troubleshooting, hypothesis failure, and long, hard hours in the lab until that amazing moment when YOU get the data and see something no one saw before. Blazer Broadening Representation And Inclusion in Neuroscience (Blazer BRAIN) students will engage in intensive research laboratory experiences designed to immerse them into an active lab team for 8 weeks.

Under the supervision of a faculty member and lab staff, students will have the opportunity to learn the basic skills necessary to contribute to a research program. Students will participate in all aspects of both the intellectual and practical aspects of daily laboratory work. Students will be trained in research methods, perform protocols and data analysis, attend lab meetings, create written and oral presentations of their results at a research forum presented to the entire UAB research community.

Faculty Mentors

Blazer BRAIN program mentors come from several UAB Departments with active neuroscience research.

Please investigate potential mentors of interest for your specific aspirations:
Department of Neurobiology 
Department of Neurology
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology
Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrated Biology
UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center

Professional Development Training

Beyond the lab, the process of graduate admissions is assumed to be intuitive but with increasing competition for placement into the best training programs, your application and interview are critical elements that need to be careful prepared. Blazer BRAIN students will learn about and prepare for the graduate admissions process including writing personal statements, letters of reference, and participating in mock interviews.

Acceptance is the first step on a multi-year journal to create new knowledge worthy of a Ph.D. Blazer BRAIN students will understand why graduate school is not "undergraduate 2.0".  Students will learn how to balance research progress with all of the other activities critical for graduate education including poster presentations, oral presentations, seminars, and journal club. 

Beyond research and professional development training, Blazer BRAIN participants receive a stipend and UAB dorm housing.  

How to apply to the Blazer BRAIN Undergraduate Summer Program

We seek to train students traditionally under-represented in STEM careers, first-generation college students, students without extensive neuroscience research opportunities at their home institutions, and students with Ph.D. focused career aspirations.

If you are an undergraduate student seeking neuroscience research experience to test whether graduate education and a career in research is a career path for you, we need to receive all materials through our website no later than February 28, 2024.

Blazer BRAIN will run June 3 - July 26, 2024. Participants must be present for the entire program.

All fields of the online application are required for consideration. Please take your time to fully answer each component.

Two letters of recommendation are required. You must supply us with the email address of those who will be recommending you in your initial application packet; please ensure accuracy of that email. Letters must be confidential and submitted directly by your reference no later than the application deadline. References should not be people who have a conflict of interest in recommending you (family, etc). References should provide relevant information as to why Blazer BRAIN would be important for your academic progression.

Click here to start the application process

Selection for Blazer BRAIN

Selection for the Blazer BRAIN program is a two step process.

  • Complete applications will be reviewed after February 28, 2024 by the Blazer BRAIN Admissions Committee.
  • Finalists will be contacted by email.
  • Final offer letters will be emailed to participants and require a decision within 2 weeks.

Any applicant who has not heard from the program director by April 30th is encouraged to apply again next year.


Please contact us at sibs@uab.edu.

For additional information contact:

John Shacka, PhD - Blazer BRAIN Co-Director
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
email: shacka@uab.edu

Cristin Gavin, PhD - Blazer BRAIN Co-Director
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurobiology

Mailing Address:
Physician Scientist Development Office
University of Alabama at Birmingham
912 18th Street, South
912-2 Bldg
Birmingham, AL 35294-1200