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Pittsburgh Undergraduate Research Diversity Program (PURDIP)

The Pittsburgh Undergraduate Research Diversity Program (PURDIP) is a paid summer training program that is hosted by the Department of Medicine’s Vascular Medicine Institute (VMI).  PURDIP is open to minority (African American, Hispanic/Latino American, or Native American) undergraduate students interested in biomedical research. The 10-week summer program is held on the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus. Students will work with a designated faculty member for 8-10 weeks. Training will incorporate didactic lectures, seminars, workshops, group homework, hands-on research and presentations by the trainees.

2022 Program Dates:
May 24 – July 29

Applications are now open!
All applications due by March 25, 2022.

Mission Statement

Diversity in the scientific workforce promotes the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all ethnic groups and improves the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical trials, collectively helping to address and eliminate health disparity. Our mission is to promote the advancement of individuals from historically underrepresented groups in biomedical sciences.


  1. To enhance competitiveness of the students’ post baccalaureate research program applications by enriching their undergraduate portfolios by engaging the students in cutting-edge mentored research.
  1. To help students master skills needed to navigate the application process for graduate and other health profession careers with specialized professional development training.
  1. To provide didactic and group study in the fundamentals of biomedical research.


Program Details

PURDIP provides an exciting opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in an intensive summer of cutting-edge research to help prepare and motivate students to enroll in MD/PhD and PhD programs in the health professions. With a mission to promote diversity in the scientific workforce, research opportunities in PURDIP largely focus on biomedical research in hematologic, pulmonary, cardiology, and sleep disorders. Research in these areas is especially needed to help eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in the US.  

Program and Activities

  • Hands-on lab experience: PURDIP students will be matched with innovative researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. Students work directly with this research mentor and will be expected to work in the mentor’s laboratory full-time throughout the 10-week program. At the end of the summer, students present their work at an in-house research symposia and a local undergraduate research conference.
  • Biomedical Research and Health Disparities: PURDIP students will learn fundamental principles of research ethics and regulations, different types of research studies, and how these studies are applied to addressing health disparities.
  • Professional Development: PURDIP students will be paired with a professional physician-scientist mentor to build their support network for years to come. Students will also attend weekly lectures, seminars, or workshops to learn about careers in the biomedical sciences, graduate programs, and medical school application process. Lectures include time management, effective learning, mentorship, mental health and wellness, and use of social media. Mock interviews will be conducted to prepare students for medical school applications.
  • Networking Events: Students will network with current graduate and medical students at the University of Pittsburgh. Additionally, students will connect with PURDIP graduates, as part of the “PURDIP for life” networking events.

  • Research toolbox training: PURDIP students will learn how to leverage common digital research tools. With the help of the University of Pittsburgh Health Science Library System, students will learn about publicly available resources related to molecular biology, data analysis, citation management, and literature searching. For example, programs used to analyze next gen sequencing and microarray data, identify genetic variations, or differential regulation of proteins and genes with disease.
  • Scientific Seminars: Throughout the summer students will attend cutting-edge research talks on biostatistics, genetics, microbiology, RNA and epigenetics.

Participation Policy

All students must be available to for the complete program and are expected to work in a laboratory full-time throughout the 10-week program. Please plan vacations and other commitments accordingly.


PURDIP students are provided a stipend for their involvement in the program. A stipend will be dispersed at the end of June and July.


PURDIP 2022 will be held in person. In the past, PURDIP brought students on-campus to provide hands-on laboratory experience and one-on-one interaction with mentors. With the onset of the global pandemic, the program was adapted to a virtual learning model in 2020 and 2021. While we expect to be fully in-person this summer, we are prepared to adapt the program to virtual or hybrid format if needed.


We are planning on hosting PURDIP 2022 in person. Our hope it to have participants reside on the University of Pittsburgh Main Campus in a fully air-conditioned dormitory. However, university housing is not guaranteed at this time. We are doing our best to secure housing and hope to update this soon. In the interim, please indicate in your personal statement whether your participation is contingent on university housing or whether you would be able to arrange your own housing locally.

Financial support will be available to alleviate the cost of housing if we are unable to provide housing on campus.

NOTE: On campus housing is unclear. This page will be updated as things change.


If in person, meals are provided as part of the program.

Travel Stipend

Travel stipends to and from the University of Pittsburgh can be requested by students who live outside of the Southwestern Pennsylvania area to alleviate travel associated expenses.

COVID Notice

All PURDIP participants will be required to adhere to university-mandated COVID-19 guidelines. These may include, but are not limited to, a period of self-isolation, mask wearing, social distancing and random virus testing.



Final application deadline: March 25, 2022

Applicant will be notified of application status by March 31, 2022

Acceptance must be received within 10 days.


  • PURDIP targets applicants who have traditionally been underrepresented in health-related science: African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indians, Alaska natives, Native Hawaiians, Other Pacific Islander
  • Must be a US citizen, permanent resident or non-citizen national
  • Must have successfully completed at least one undergraduate year at an accredited school or university at the time of enrollment in PURDIP.

All applications due by March 25th, 2022.


Courtney Sparacino-Watkins @