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INTRO Summer Research Program

The West Virginia University School of Medicine Initiation to Research Opportunities Summer Research Program –best known as INTRO - provides first-year medical and pharmacy students a “hands-on” research experience during an eight-week period with the guidance and support of a faculty mentor with an active research program. Student participants receive a stipend of $4,000. Held during the summer months as students transition into second-year professionals, the objectives of the INTRO program are to stimulate medical students to 1) consider participating in additional research training after medical school for a career as physician-investigators, and/or 2) encourage the use of evidence-based learning, problem-solving, and the scientific method in their future clinical practice, both from the standpoint of disease prevention and treatment. In 2018, the program was expanded to include doctoral Pharmacy students. as they also contribute to clinical and translational sciences. Leadership of the INTRO program includes a Director (Dr. Kari Sisk, Assistant Director of Professional Development, WVCTSI) who is supported by Co-Directors and staff of the WVCTSI Professional Development Core, and with close collaboration with the WVU HSC ORGE. Key features of this mentored summer research experience are centered on the skills needed for conducting high-impact clinical and translational research. These skills include training to be an effective mentee and sustain a productive mentorship relationship, identification of an important research question, formulation of a novel hypothesis, experimental design including data analyses and interpretation, and dissemination of one’s research findings via publications and presentations. All participating students and their mentors share their scientific findings during poster session at the program closing ceremony and at the WVU School of Medicine Van Liere Research Conference held in the following spring.  

Students will be notified by April 8, 2024, regarding selection for participation in the Summer program. 

Extended Deadline: March 21, 2024

This year’s program will take place from June 10 - August 2, 2024

Selections for the program will be made by the INTRO Admission Committee and will be announced in early April.  Funding is limited therefore the program is competitive.

Students interested in applying for the INTRO program must:

  • Identify a faculty mentor 
  • Meet with the faculty mentor about the project and develop a project plan
  • Complete and submit the INTRO application
  • One student per mentor will be allowed
  • Must be in good academic standing

Proposed research projects may require approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). If the research project utilizes biological specimens, approval must be obtained first by the Institutional Biosafety Committee prior to IRB submission. The level of review is driven by the level of risk. All projects should be submitted to the IRB to determine which category they fit into.
The three primary levels of IRB reviews include:

  • Exempt research: Common examples include anonymous surveys, retrospective studies, and educational research.
  • Expedited research: This level includes projects that show minimal risk.
  • Quorum research: This level includes projects that show more than minimal risk.

It is required that your project has research IRB approval before June 1 for you to be eligible as an INTRO trainee (if applicable).
Requirements for INTRO trainees:

  • Attendance at the orientation lunches and all enrichment or professional development sessions (1 each week)
  • Keep a weekly reflection log of mentor meetings and research accomplishments and challenges
  • Poster presentation at the program conclusion Van Liere Induction Ceremony
  • Submission of an abstract for oral or poster presentation during the 2025 Van Liere Research Conference in the following spring
  • No other externships or research-related commitments are allowed during the INTRO Program


If you are interested in serving as a mentor or would like more information about the program, please complete the INTRO Mentor Interest Form.


Kari Sisk, EdD- Assistant Director Professional Development, WVCTSI