female student looking into microscope, DICR program

Diversity in Cancer Research (DICR) is a cancer research training program for undergraduates interested in careers in biomedicine. For ten weeks during the summer, participants work full time in the laboratories of established cancer researchers at the University of Chicago, gaining hands-on experience in areas at the forefront of the field. 

Rigorous research training is complemented with year-round career development and skill-building workshops, leadership training, opportunities in community outreach and engagement, and personalized mentorship for post-baccalaureate transitions.

DICR is ideal for undergraduates with initial research experience, who aim to advance their scientific expertise and professional skills in preparation for careers in research and medicine.

DICR is funded by a grant from the American Cancer Society.

About DICR

DICR is a yearlong program consisting of a ten-week summer research experience plus monthly academic year activities. The summer research experience generally runs from the second week of June through the second week of August. Specific dates are announced with the release of application materials each fall.
  • Hands-on experience in a cutting-edge laboratory or research group
  • Year-round career development and skill-building workshops, leadership training, and opportunities in community outreach and engagement
  • Personalized mentorship for post-baccalaureate transitions 
  • Taxable stipend of $5,000
  • College sophomore or junior at time of application 
  • At least 16 years of age at start of program 
  • Strong interest in a career in scientific research or medicine 
  • Strong academic record, particularly in math and science 
  • Ability to commit to the yearlong program, including a 10-week summer research experience (40 hours/week) and monthly enrichment activities throughout the subsequent academic year
  • Priority is given to applicants from groups underrepresented in biomedicine, encompassing all relevant social, behavioral as well as health sciences. Applications are encouraged from any individual with demonstrated commitment to increase the full participation of underrepresented groups in biomedicine. Learn more.

Please note that students are responsible for their own housing and transportation to and from the University of Chicago during their summer research experiences.

Admission to DICR is competitive. Four trainees are selected each year based on their stated interest in the program, academic record and third-party recommendations. Applications for the 2022 program are due Monday, February 21.

To apply:

Conflict of Interest Policy: The selection of applicants is managed by the program leadership team. Immediate family members of the leadership team or UChicago faculty are ineligible for the program. All applications will be subject to the Conflict of Interest Policy.

Program Team

Megan Mekinda, PhD
Assistant Director for Cancer Education

Basia Galinski, PhD
Scientific Liaison for Cancer Education

Michelle Domecki
Cancer Education Coordinator

DICR would not be possible without our faculty mentors and their research teams, who dedicate precious time, wisdom and laboratory resources to participants of the program. Our mentors are leaders across all areas of cancer research including basic, translational, clinical and population-based. They are also experienced educators and committed role models.

Students & Alumni

Nicole Arellano
Emily Gamboa
Alena Pedroza
Sanjana Rao

Advisory Committee

The UChicago Cancer Education Advisory Committee provides strategic guidance regarding DICR’s continued growth and development. It also facilitates greater integration of the program with cancer- and science-related educational opportunities within the university and partnering institutions. Its members include key stakeholders in UChicago cancer education efforts, science education experts and members of the DICR leadership team.

Vineet Arora, MD
Herbert T. Abelson Professor of Medicine
Dean for Medical Education, Pritzker School of Medicine

Brisa Aschebrook-Kilfoy, PhD
Associated Professor, Institute for Population and Precision Health

Eric Beyer, MD, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics, Cell Physiology, Cancer Biology and Molecular Medicine

Gina Curry, MPH, MBA
Director of the Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity, UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center

M. Eileen Dolan, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology
Deputy Director, UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dan Golden, MD, MHPE
Associate Professor of Radiation and Cellular Oncology

Barbara Kee, PhD
Chair, Committee on Cancer Biology PhD Program

Kay Macleod, PhD
Director, Specialization in Cancer Biology

Megan Mekinda, PhD
Assistant Director for Cancer Education, UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center

Olufunmilayo Olopade, MBBS
Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics
Associate Dean for Global Health

Iris Romero, MD
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Associated Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center

Nancy Schwartz, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics
Dean and Director for Postdoctoral Affairs

Julian Solway, MD
Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Director for the Institute for Translational Medicine

Madeleine Durkee, PhD
Trainee Associate Member, Postdoctoral Fellow Representative, UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center 

Emma Wilkinson
Trainee Associate Member, Graduate Student Representative, UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center