The Anesthesiology Summer Research Fellowship program (ASSURE) provides 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. 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. 

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 have opportunities to participate in research across the translational 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. 

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 $7,000 (paid in monthly installments on the last business day of June, July, and August), a MetroLink pass to use for local public transportation in St. Louis, and single-room shared campus housing if requested. For those not living on campus, a parking pass will be provided.

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. 

What Participants Say

The goal of the Anesthesiology Summer Research Fellowship program is to better attract, train, mentor, and provide long-term career support for local students who are interested in research. 

Here is what some former participants have to say about the program:

India Bland

India Bland

“I can confidently say I am better prepared for my future career path because of the ASSURE Fellowship. I was exposed to a multitude of doctors and researchers in a wide variety of specialties. Our weekly meetings felt like miniature rounds and the networking opportunities were incredibly valuable. I feel like I have a better understanding of my options for pursuing an MD but also an MD/PhD program — something I never considered prior to the program.”

“After talking with current medical students and gaining shadowing experience, I am certain this is the path I want to pursue in the future.

The program has also increased my interest in participating in clinical research. I can envision myself working in a clinical research lab during medical school. I appreciated how the ASSURE program brought in different medical and research professionals. Hearing their stories and backgrounds helped me figure out what I want to do in the future. It was also insightful to talk with people from diverse backgrounds about how identity plays­ a role in their professional lives. Additionally, the connections I’ve made through the program will be valuable as I start my career path.”

Preston Boyd

Preston Boyd

Jakayla Folarin-Hines

Jakayla Folarin-Hines

“At first, I fell for all the stigmas people sometimes place on research—it’s isolating, boring, strict, and you’re stuck doing the same thing over and over—but through the program, I learned that research is not any of that. It’s open and freeform, and it’s only as routine as you make it.”

“The ASSURE Fellowship was truly an experience and opportunity of a lifetime. I don’t really have enough words to describe my experience in the Department of Anesthesiology. The program gave me the opportunity that I was looking for at that time. In the beginning, I was ­worried about my lack of knowledge in research, but my primary investigator, Dr. Simon Haroutounian, and his whole team were very patient with me. They made sure that I was really getting an insight into clinical research.”

Bulenda Shayo

Bulenda Shayo