Students examining a microscope


The purpose of the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute’s (Greehey CCRI) Undergraduate Summer Internship Program is to allow talented undergraduate and high school students interested in a career in academic research the opportunity to spend approximately ten weeks during the summer conducting hypothesis-driven research in childhood cancer in one of the laboratories at the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute.

Most research-oriented academic institutions offer undergraduate and high school summer students programs to experience laboratory research. Still, access to such opportunities in a dedicated children’s cancer research environment is a unique offering. Since research conducted at our facility utilizes a wide range of techniques and model systems, students can experience not only a unique firsthand look at children’s cancer research. Still, they will be able to do so from basic science and clinically relevant experimental paradigms.

Students here experience a distinctive firsthand look at childhood cancer research and can do so from basic science and clinically relevant experimental paradigms.
Our program is intended to educate the next generation of cancer researchers and has offered students from throughout the nation and worldwide opportunities to learn in a fast-paced, cutting-edge cancer research environment.

Program Focus and Details

Dr. Aune discussing experiment results.Hypothesis-driven research

To address the hypothesis, the student measured microRNA expression in clinical specimens and associated it with retrospective clinical outcome data. Although the research at the Greehey CCRI is focused on pediatric cancer, there is significant diversity in both topics and paradigms employed. A spectrum of potential projects, ranging from purely basic science relevant to cancer to analysis of clinically-related data, are available for prospective students to choose. Links to detailed descriptions of the faculty research interests can be found on the Greehey CCRI website.

In addition to the breadth of potential research topics, a wide array of research technologies, including genomics, proteomics, classical genetics, and various cellular and organismal imaging platforms, are also being employed, further augmenting the diversity of potential research projects.

Health and Safety Training

Before conducting independent research, an assessment of potential workplace hazards will be held to ensure that safe work practices and appropriate training are in place. The evaluation will determine what training courses need to be scheduled before the commencement of research.

Summer Program Student Presenting ResearchSymposium

Communicating the results of academic research is an important skill. The summer research experience, to help develop student skills in this area, will culminate in a research symposium, the goals of which are to:

  • Teach students to present data and defend conclusions effectively
  • Build confidence in public speaking
  • Provide a forum in which students can share the results of their summer experience.

Quick Program Facts:

  • The 2022 program runs from June 7th through August 12th.
  • The number of applications can exceed the available positions, and once those are filled, interested applicants will be placed on a waiting list.
  • The program typically hosts ten to twelve undergraduate students.
  • Individual Principal Investigators screen candidates to identify and select candidates whose research interests best fit each laboratory’s ongoing research program.
  • A stipend is available to successful undergraduate applicants to help defray some of the student’s expenses.  High school students do not receive stipends and meals; housing and transportation are not provided
  • Per the UT Health SA Office of Recruitment and Student Outreach, Minors in the Research Workplace Compliance & Safety, “This coming summer, we are happy to announce that we will be able to welcome students, who are 16-18 (years old), back to campus for in-person educational activities or to volunteer or work in our research labs.

Greehey CCRI Overview

The Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (Greehey CCRI) is a part of UT Health San Antonio (UTHSA), a research-intensive institution dedicated to improving the health of all citizens through research, teaching, and patient care. UT Health San Antonio serves a 50,000 square-mile area of South Texas, with campuses in San Antonio and the metropolitan border communities of Laredo, Harlingen, and Edinburg in the Rio Grande Valley. More than 2,700 students a year train in an environment that involves more than 100 affiliated hospitals, clinics, and health care facilities in South Texas.

Established with $200 million from the State of Texas tobacco settlement, the largest single oncology endowment in this nation’s history, the Greehey CCRI is a unique research center with over 100,000sqft dedicated to childhood cancer.

Our mission is to advance scientific knowledge relevant to childhood cancer and to accelerate the translation of that information into novel therapies. Through the discovery, development, and dissemination of scientific knowledge related to childhood cancer by a group of world-class principal investigators, our overarching aim is to impact cancer at all ages positively.

Organized around five major programs and shared core facilities, the Greehey CCRI is an integrated matrix organization comprising an interdisciplinary group of faculty spanning multiple departments and schools of UTHSA. Housed in a state-of-the-art research building, our institute is well-positioned to significantly impact the scientific profile of San Antonio and South Texas, extending the development of regional, national, and international scientific linkages for basic and translational cancer research clinical trials.

Clinical investigations are conducted in collaboration with board-certified pediatric oncologists in the UTHSA Division of Hematology-Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics. The clinical team cares for approximately 60 new childhood oncology patients each year at University Hospital. The Division also operates an ACGME-certified fellowship program in pediatric hematology-oncology. Most importantly, these clinical efforts are nationally linked.

For program questions, please contact Terri Hernandez

Dr. Gregory J. Aune with 2019 Greehey CCRI Summer Students
Dr. Gregory J. Aune with 2019 Summer Students