The Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), in partnership with the University of Massachusetts at Boston (UMB), is providing the Summer Program to Advance Research Careers (SPARC), a 12-week intensive research experience focused on emerging technologies (ET) in cancer and cancer disparities. Each year, 30 undergraduates who have just completed the first or second year will engage in full-time mentored cancer research experiences in research environments across DF/HCC and UMB.  SPARC students will be selected from UMB and local community colleges, and matched with mentors in research environments focused on cancer and cancer disparities research using emerging technologies.  SPARC will focus on three areas critical to the development of successful, innovative cancer researchers: 1) acquisition of scientific knowledge in the area of cancer and emerging technologies; 2) development of communication skills; and 3) individualized career preparation. Program activities in these three areas will provide the strong intellectual, technical and personal foundation essential for developing and implementing cutting edge research. SPARC students will not only gain confidence that they can successfully pursue a career in cancer research, but also begin constructing a practical road map for achieving that goal. This initiative is funded through an R25 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI CA214256)

Program Features:

  • Extensive program orientation and scientific skills training
  • Mentored, hands-on summer cancer research experience at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center or UMB
  • Focus on emerging technologies in cancer research
  • Experience in composing an abstract and delivering an oral or poster presentation of your research
  • Networking with students in other research programs, and with research scientists
  • Seminars on research and professional development topics
  • Journal club meetings focused on understanding scientific articles
  • Opportunity to present research at local and/or national conferences
  • Summer stipends 

This program is currently not recruiting. Please SEE our CURE - Summer Only Program.  

Program Highlights

Students are matched with mentors in research environments focused on cancer and cancer disparities research using emerging technologies at: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Students engage in scientific investigation across the research continuum, working in basic-, clinical-, computational-, nursing-, and population-based science.

The summer culminated with Technologies Emerging in Cancer (TEC) Talks.  In 5 minutes, each SPARC scholar presented the purpose of their work, their summer research goals, key findings, and future directions to an audience of their peers, members of the DF/HCC research community, friends, and family.

Tec Talk - Assiris Camargo

TEC Talk - Diana Lau