The Leadership Alliance



The Dynamic Experiences in Neuroscience to Diversify Research Internship Training Exposures for Students (DENDRITES) program aims at encouraging and supporting the research and career development of students interested in basic, clinical, and translational neuroscience.

The program will host visiting undergraduate students to participate in an intensive nine-week research program under the direction of faculty mentors, introducing them to cutting-edge research methods and solidifying their commitment to pursuing research careers. DENDRITES will be part of Leadership Alliance Summer Research – Early Identification Program (SR-EIP) at UChicago to offer students professional development workshops and social activities across Chicago.

Application Requirements

Interested undergraduates must complete the online application available at The online application must be completed and submitted no later than midnight on February 1, 2022.

 The application requires:

  1. Biographical and academic information
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Two letters of recommendation
  4. Official transcripts 

Please rank UChicago as your preferred school and indicate an interest in Neurosience



Applicants must currently be enrolled full-time in an accredited public or private college or university in the U.S. or its territories, as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

All applicants must:

  • Be in good academic standing with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Demonstrate a committed interest to pursue graduate study toward a PhD or MD/PhD
  • Have completed at least two semesters and have at least one semester remaining of their undergraduate education by the start of the summer program
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status at the time of application

Note: Although the SR-EIP is not designed for students pursuing professional training for careers in the practice of law, business administration, clinical medicine, clinical psychology or the allied health professions, we invite applications from students interested in the pursuit of joint PhD, MD/PhD, JD/PhD, or interdisciplinary PhD programs at the University of Chicago.

Students must first be certified as eligible by the Leadership Alliance before being reviewed by the University of Chicago for possible placement in the University’s SR-EIP. The primary consideration for placing students in the University of Chicago’s SR-EIP is the matching of research interests between students and faculty members. Additional information on applying to SR-EIP can be found at the Leadership Alliance website:

If you are not eligible for the Leadership Alliance, check out this database with other research opportunities!


Applications Tips
  • Be specific. For example, do not say that you are interested in Cancer Research. Instead say “I am interested in the molecular mechanisms of cancer” or “I would like to investigate tumor progression and metastasis”. 
  • Think of your application as a package. If you mention a previous research experience in your statement of purpose we encourage you to also include a recommendation letter from your mentor during that research experience.
  • Think wisely when choosing your recommendation letter writers. The SR-EIP is a research program,when possible ask for a letter from someone that can speak to your abilities as a researcher. In the event that you have not completed research before a letter from a professor or a lecturer is OK, however, you should ask someone that knows you well or is in the research area that you are interested in doing research. 
  • Follow the instructions. Read these instructions carefully
  • Complete all application components. For example, make sure to address this question in your application: “How do you understand the Leadership Alliance’s goal of developing a diverse research workforce?”
  • Devote time to your Statement of Purpose. Although this article is specifically for a statement of purpose for a graduate program application it does include some good tips. 


Questions about your application or eligibility? Please contact:

Victoria Flores, PhD
Associate Director










Potential Research Projects

Please expand the titles below to see additional details on research projects for summer 2022. 

Advanced Neurodiagnostics

We are developing new ways to study neurological diseases using electrophysiology and mathematical modeling. Our current projects include validating a new method for diagnosing the fatal disease ALS, developing a new approach to diagnosing seizures that originate in the hippocampus, and modeling how neuromodulation can control seizures. The goal of these projects is to directly translate basic science concepts into improved patient outcomes.

Ataxia Mechanisms and Measurement

We apply molecular and cellular biology and animal genetic techniques to understand the pathogenesis of neurological disorders such as ataxia and autism and design target therapies. In parallel, we are using wearable sensor technology to develop a more accurate way to assess severity of ataxia and the benefit of treatments.

Brain Trauma Research

We are interested understanding the pathophysiology of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and in improving functional outcomes of patients after such injuries. Critical care after TBI aims to mitigate secondary brain injury (SBI) via the continuous monitoring of intracranial pressure (ICP) and the partial brain tissue oxygen tension (PbtO2), among other physiologic variables.

Connectomics and Neural Networks

We are pioneering new techniques for mapping the fine structure of the nervous system at industrial scale. These include large volume automated electron microscopy for mapping neuronal connections at the nanoscale – ‘connectomics’, synchrotron source X-ray microscopy for mapping the cellular composition of entire brains, and genetic labeling of specific cell types for x-rays and electrons. We apply these tools to brains in the service of answering the questions: how do brains grow up and age and how do brains differ across individuals, phylogeny, and disease.

Delivery of Stroke Care

We use mixed methods including community-participatory research, machine learning, human factors engineering, and implementation science to design, develop, validate, and test models to improve delivery of stroke care in the community, prehospital, and hospital settings. Currently, we are focused on improving inter-facility transfer processes, prehospital stroke screening for severe stroke, and stroke diagnosis in the emergency room.

Memory and Cognitive Impairment

We conduct laboratory studies on cognitive impairments that occur in neurological disorders and develops novel interventions for these impairments using a variety of brain stimulation methods. The main focus is on understanding and influencing neurocognitive processes involved in memory for life events, which is disrupted in individuals with amnesia. Research projects involve human participants and use methods such as functional MRI, transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS), and recordings from neurosurgically implanted depth electrodes.