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Summer Bootcamp Series Descriptions

Note: Registration for Summer Bootcamp Series will be open to interns in the 2021 Virtual Summer Internship Programs only. Before registering for any of these courses, please discuss your summer schedule and commitment to your research group with your supervisor. You will need to get a permission from your supervisor to participate in the OITE bootcamps and curriculum. 


Principles of Scientific Thinking

‘Principles of Scientific Thinking’ is a general introduction to the cognitive processes underlying scientific discovery and day-to-day scientific thinking.

  • Week 1. Provides a general overview of the Scientific Method and how to systematically evaluate information before accepting or rejecting it, enabling individuals to move beyond memorization of facts to learn about the world through critical thinking.
  • Week 2. Focuses on the importance of a proper a priori set-up (experimental design), covering key concepts like ‘variable’, ‘reproducibility’ and ‘control’ that allow investigators  to draw scientifically valid conclusions.
  • Week 3. Applies the concepts from the two previous modules (scientific method and experimental design) to real data and explores what makes a scientific study valid.

Dates and Times:

[SIP] 3 meetings, Mondays, June 7, 14, and 21, 2021; 2:00-4:00 pm, ET
[HS-SIP] 3 meetings, Fridays, July 2, 9, and 16, 2021; 9:30-11:30 am, ET

Target Audience:

Early undergraduate students [SIP] and high school students [HS-SIP], respectively


Social (In)Justice in Research and Medicine

Throughout history, marginalized populations have been abused and mistreated in medicine and research. In this introductory workshop, we will discuss social justice using case studies of breaches in ethical and humane treatment in research and medicine. We will approach these studies using key concepts in diversity and inclusion such as bias, othering, and allyship to help us think about and discuss these atrocities and what has been done to ensure such wrongs do not continue. We will also explore what we can contribute to the quest for equity and justice in medicine and research.

Date and Time:

4 meetings, Tuesday to Friday, June 8, 9, 10, and 11, 2021; 11:00 am-1:30 pm, ET

Target Audience:

Undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students


Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials are research studies in which human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of new treatments and therapies. This boot camp will offer information about clinical trial design, analysis, and ethics, as well as the presentation of clinical protocols currently taking place at the NIH Clinical Center.

Date and Time:

5 meetings, Mondays, June 14, 21, and 28, Tuesday, July 6, and Monday, July 12, 2021; 3:00-5:00 pm, ET

Target Audience:

Undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students


Health Disparities

This Summer Series will offer summer interns the opportunity to learn about health disparities, enhance their knowledge of gaps in health outcomes, explore the relationship between biomedical science and society in addressing the elimination of health disparities, and highlight the important role science communications play.

The Series will begin with an introduction to health disparities, which will provide an overview of the behavioral, social, and cultural factors related to individual and population health and health disparities throughout life. Weekly speaker-led seminars followed by journal club discussions in small groups will focus on health disparities in addiction, mental health, and sexual and gender minority health. We will also discuss how precision medicine can address health disparities. Students will have the opportunity to discuss their questions with a topic expert(s) in breakout rooms. Throughout the series, students will be expected to participate in group projects, which will be presented at the end of the series.

Date and Time:

5 meetings, Wednesdays, June 16, 23, and 30, and July 7 and 14, 2021; 3:00-5:00 pm, ET

Target Audience:

Undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students


Common Misconceptions about the Human Mind and Behavior

Is it true that we only use 10% of our brains? Can subliminal messages persuade us? Do dreams possess symbolic meaning? Do opposites attract? People often use their personal experiences and common sense to develop beliefs about the human mind and our behaviors, yet many of these beliefs are not supported by scientific evidence. In this seminar, we will debunk the most common myths regarding human cognition and behaviors and examine why people believe in such falsehoods. We will analyze these myths in the context of research and scientific evidence.  In the end, we might realize that truth can be even stranger than myth!

Date and Time:

6 meetings, Fridays, June 18, and July 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2021; 11:00 am-12:30 pm, ET

Target Audience:

Undergraduate and early graduate students


The Therapeutic Development Process

The 'Therapeutic Development Process' bootcamp is an exciting opportunity for NIH Summer Interns to learn more about the bench-to-bedside process. The course, in one program, intertwines interdisciplinary scientific content, understanding of the drug development process, professional skills development, and career exploration. Developing a therapeutic is slow and expensive. Understanding why that is can help us get more treatments to more people more affordably.

This boot camp course will cover the following topics over the course of four days:

  • Day 1. Development Process Overview: The Good, the Bad, and Everything in Between
  • Day 2. Preclinical Development: High-throughput Screens, Medicinal Chemistry, and Finding the Perfect Compound
  • Day 3. Intellectual Property and FDA Regulation and Approval: A Tale of Trade-offs
  • Day 4. Clinical Development and Marketing: Innovations in the Development Process - Approaching the Process as if It Were a Scientific Problem

Date and Time:

4 meetings, Tuesday to Friday, July 6, 7, 8, and 9, 2021; 10:00 am-1:00 pm, ET

Target Audience:

Undergraduate and graduate/professional school students


Data Science

The Data Science Summer Curriculum will provide trainees at various levels with a variety of options to learn and improve their computational skills as applied to biomedical research.  The material will range from the basics of learning to code, to using Supercomputers and Cloud-based services to mine, analyze, and visualize data.

The curriculum will include the following events and courses:

  • Three-week course on learning to code, a Python-based course
  • Introduction to Supercomputing and Biowulf
  • Introduction to R’ courses
  • NCBI Databases, Tools, and Resources workshops
  • All of Us Project and Public Research Hub
  • Introduction to Cloud Computing webinar
  • Full-day Google Cloud Platform training
  • Galaxy Training Network Services
  • End of Summer Code-a-thon
  • Focused Data Science Open Office Hours

Dates and Times:

Offerings preceded by an asterisk are extended activities; all other activities are one-time, single-topic workshops and webinars.

  • *Learn to Code: Python for Beginners; June 14-July 3 (Monday live lectures, asynchronous learning Tuesday-Friday)

  • Introduction to Supercomputing and NIH Biowulf: Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 10:00-11:00 am, ET

  • Introduction to R' and R' Studio: Tuesday, June 22, 2021, 12:00-1:30 pm, ET (Registration through the NIH Library begins June 15)

  • Finding Information in NCBI Databases: Tools to Help You Do What You Need to Do: June 24, 10:00am–12:00pm ET

  • Introduction to R' Data Types: Monday, June 28, 2021, 2:00-3:30 pm, ET (Registration through the NIH Library begins June 21)

  • NCBI BLAST and Sequence Alignment Analysis Tools: July 8, 10:00am-12:00pm, ET

  • Introduction to All of Us Research Program and Public Research Hub: July ##

  • All of Us Workbench: Interactive Workshop on Building a Project, July ##

  • NCBI Resources for Human Genome and Gene Research: July 29, 10:00am–12:00pm, ET

  • *End of the summer Code-a-thon: August 9-12

    Additional offerings: TBD

Target Audience:

All levels


Leadership Academy

Summer interns are the next generation of biomedical researchers whose leadership skills will propel them towards success. This intensive leadership program seeks to help these leaders understand themselves and to improve their interactions with others. The program consists of an overview lecture; three workshops on self-awareness, conflict, and teams; and a capstone program that will allow interns to connect concepts, practice conversations, and highlight leadership skills as they return to their universities.

The goal of this course is for interns to gain skills that they can use back on their campuses to lead student organizations and/or assume more responsibility within these organizations.

The complete program will include the following:

Overview Lecture: Essential Leadership Skills for Future Scientists and Health Care Professionals: June 17, 2021; 1:00-2:00 pm, ET

Workplace Dynamic (WPD) Series: June 28, July 12, and July 19, 2021; 3:30-5:00 pm, ET

  • WPD 1 and 2 (June 28): Gaining Self-awareness and Communication Skills
  • WPD 3 (July 12): Conflict and Feedback
  • WPD 4 (July 19): Team Skills

Leadership Capstone Course: July 26 -29, 2021, 4:00-5:30 pm, ET

  • Day 1. Develop a Project: Using your leadership skills for good
  • Day 2. Navigating life within a team
  • Day 3. How to have (difficult) conversations
  • Day 4. Highlighting your leadership skills

Target Audience:

Undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students