University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Education and Training

For High School Students and Undergraduates

UPCI International Academy on Careers in Cancer Program

With contributions from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), Bayer Material Sciences, and grateful patient families, the Academy was instituted in 2009 to encourage high school students’interest in cancer careers, instill knowledge of cancer biology and clinical care, and develop their research and communication skills. After a successful pilot program in 2009, parts of the academy have also received funding from the National Cancer Institute’s Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) Program and the Doris Duke Foundation.

The number of participating students increased from 5 in 2009, 26 in 2011, and 56 in 2013. Our goals are to encourage and prepare high school students to further their studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and to consider careers in cancer research. Through immersion in our dedicated UPCI laboratories with qualified faculty mentors, we expect that students will gain an increased knowledge of:

  1. cancer biology and therapeutic strategies
  2. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers in cancer research and care
  3. basic research and communication skills.

An important part of the Academy is the research experience in the laboratories of the UPCI faculty. The Academy offers 7 different but complementary and interacting programs: the Cancer Biology site, the Magee Women’s Cancer Research Center, the Cancer Immunology, the Drug Discovery, Systems and Computational Biology site, the Computer Science, Biology, and Biomedical Informatics site, the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, and the Center for Integrated Oncology-Cologne/Bonn Academy.

Learn more about the International Academy.

Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Educational Programs

The University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) strives to develop, nurture, and support a cadre of clinical and translational scientists through its education and training programs for students and researchers of all levels. For high school students, CTSI educational programming is facilitated, principally, through CTSI's Pitt Mobile Science Lab, a 70-foot tractor trailer equipped with 26 workstations and customized scientific equipment that offers novel, hands-on, educational programs, including “Examining Biological Systems,” “Human Genetics,” and “Moving Molecules,” among others. The CTSI also offers many classes and other training research opportunities, as described on their website.

Doris Duke Foundation Academy for Clinical Research

The Doris Duke Foundation Academy for Clinical Research (DDF-ACR) integrates five established summer high school programs at the University of Pittsburgh (UP). As such it is one of nine sites in the country that provides unique opportunities for promising seniors from underrepresented minority and disadvantaged (URM/DA) backgrounds, by immersing them directly into mentored, clinical research activities.

Learn more about the Doris Duke Foundation Academy.

Medical Explorers for Minority High School Students (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine)

Medical Explorers is a school-year program for Pittsburgh-area high school students. The group meets weekly, examining a (student-selected) different topic each semester. Students attend lectures from minority physicians, meet and interact with minority medical students, shadow physicians, and participate in laboratory experiences such as clinical pathology conferences. Supplemental activities such as CPR certification and study skills instruction are available.

For more information, email or write The Office of Student Affairs/Diversity Programs:

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Office of Student Affairs/Diversity Programs
532 Scaife Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-648-8987

Summer Premedical Academic Enrichment Program (SPAEP) (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine)

The Summer Premedical Academic Enrichment Program (SPAEP) is open to minority high school graduates and college students and is designed specifically to prepare and support students who wish to pursue careers in medicine.

Learn more about the SPAEP.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

The University of Pittsburgh Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) provides stimulating and rewarding research opportunities for undergraduates considering graduate education in biomedical research. The program is administered by the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program (IBGP) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Over 100 faculty scientists from the following programs are participating in SURP:

Learn more about SURP.

Volunteer in a Research Laboratory

Opportunities are available for laboratory research volunteers to assist UPCI researchers with a variety of tasks. This program requires a minimum of ten hours of service a week during normal business hours. Learn more.