The Anesthesiology Summer Research Fellowship program (ASSURE) provides underrepresented minority undergraduate students from the St. Louis metro area an opportunity to engage in basic, clinical, and/or translational research projects.

Fellows will engage in immersive 10-week summer projects under the mentorship of a Department of Anesthesiology faculty member.

ASSURE fellows will also have the opportunity to attend educational programs and social activities with fellow research trainees participating in other WashU summer research programs, such as the NIH-funded WUSTL ENDURE program which prepares undergraduates for neuroscience PhD programs. The ASSURE fellowship program acknowledges the importance of collaboration and encourages fellows to become part of an integrated research community that spans both the Danforth and Medical School campuses.

Mission

The Department of Anesthesiology encompasses a kaleidoscope of races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, and experiences, and its research divisions are no exception. In the fields of research and medicine, our workforce diversity is critical to our future achievements and scientific discoveries, and we are striving to build a pipeline of bright and undiscovered talents. The ASSURE program will launch its first cohort of students in the summer of 2021 with the hope of being able to better attract, train, mentor, and provide long term career support for students from backgrounds that are historically under-represented in the field.

Pipeline programs are by their nature investments in all of our futures. The department aims to increase opportunities within by: investing in research programs for under-represented minority (URM) students that might pique interest in health science careers, graduate school, postdoctoral training, and faculty positions down the road; and by building collaborative relationships with URM-serving institutions. The department will provide mentorship and guidance via not only faculty leadership but also our trainee-run diversity committee (CREATE – committee for real equity in anesthesiology training and education); by including staff and trainees in the department’s diversity, equity, and inclusion task force; and by seeking funding opportunities that aim to increase diversity across the research spectrum to support growth of this crucial pipeline that enriches both the incoming candidate pool and every current member of our research community.

Research Opportunities

This program is heavily mentored, each awardee will work closely with mentor(s) and students at various stages in their academic career and will participate in research opportunities across the translational research spectrum – from fundamental laboratory research into disease pathophysiology at the cellular level to clinical research involving human patients.

Fellows will work closely learning from senior lab members by working on a well-defined research project. During the program, the candidates will be trained in the specific scientific techniques relevant to the project, as well as in the fundamentals of experimental design, data interpretation, and scientific communication. 

In addition, areas of current research use pharmacologic, behavioral, and informatics tools to improve outcomes related to acute and chronic pain, and critical illness (including COVID-19).

lab research

Areas of Basic Research

  • neurobiology of pain
  • itch
  • sleep
  • stress and addiction/substance use disorders
  • cell biology
  • biophysics
  • pharmacology of analgesic and anesthetic drugs

Areas of Clinical Research

  • Prediction, prevention, and treatment of undesired surgical outcomes
  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Mental health disorders
  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Critical illness
  • COVID-19
  • Utilizing informatics and machine learning to improve patient outcomes

Stipend and Housing

Students who are awarded a fellowship position will receive a stipend of $6,500* (paid in monthly installments on the last business day of May, June, and July), a MetroLink pass to use for local public transportation in St. Louis, and single-room shared campus housing** with other undergraduate research students for the 10-week fellowship.

* The stipend is in addition to having housing costs fully covered.
** To enhance interactions with other trainees at WashU, we offer paid on-campus housing in the same facilities as the ENDURE program students.  

Activities, Progress Reports, and Presentations

Students receiving summer funding through this fellowship program will present their summer work at the end of the program. Fellows will also attend a research ethics workshop sponsored by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research, as well as the STAR 100: Research Lifecycle course. Participation in journal clubs and data blitzes is also strongly encouraged. 

ASSURE fellows will also have the opportunity to attend educational events like science writing workshops as well as social activities with students from the WUSTL ENDURE program, another WashU undergraduate research program for students interested in neuroscience (funded by the NIH Blueprint ENDURE initiative).