Program Overview

The SyBBURE Searle Program seeks to transform the scientific field into an inclusive, integrated, purposeful community—one student at a time.

To seek after this vision, we provide students with experiences in both research and design within an idealized community so that they may be transformed into the next generation of innovators, regardless of their current major or future plans.

A generous gift from Gideon Searle, a Vanderbilt alumnus, allows us to provide this distinctive opportunity for undergraduate students at Vanderbilt University to explore science at promising and exciting frontiers! The gift supports student participation in research projects conducted in labs across Vanderbilt’s campus. We partner with the faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students in these labs to provide our students with tailored, mentored immersion experiences in advanced scientific research. To bolster their research experience, students engage in team-based design projects with peers in the program to further explore their interests and solve real-world problems.

While students gravitate towards the program for the research experience, they often stay because of the community. We are an idealized research and design playground where students can work together and grow both personally and professionally, exemplifying the inclusive, integrated, purposeful community we ideally want the scientific community to be.

To establish our program culture, we create a scaffold of high expectations coupled with a dynamic, fluid, and fun environment. The philosophy of the SyBBURE Searle Program exists around a “maximum effort for maximum return” ideology. Through this year-round research and design experience, students develop and expand their skill sets, are encouraged to explore their passions and ideas, and receive personalized mentorship from their faculty research adviser, as well as the SyBBURE Searle team.



Students participate in year-round research experiences across campus within labs aligned to their interests.



Students gain design experience by working with peers to identify and solve real-world problems.



Students engage in our unique community through which they receive training, mentorship, and the opportunity to develop both professionally and personally.


Support for Students

We provide students with a high level of support through stipends, travel awards, resources, supplies, training, and mentorship. During the academic year, students receive $1000 each semester for 10 hours/week of commitment. The 10-week summer program provides a $6000 stipend plus a $1000 cost of living allowance for a full-time (40 hours/week) commitment.

What our students are saying…

“Thank you so much for an amazing and transformative experience!”

- Samantha Heller, Neuroscience & Women’s and Gender Studies ‘19

“SyBBURE is an amazing program and I only wish I had gotten involved with it earlier in my undergrad career so I could truly make the most out of it. It's rare to find such a welcoming community of enthusiastic peers and supportive mentors and staff who both share a love for science and also care about each other's well-being and professional development. I love that it provides opportunities for students to learn, grow and challenge themselves in in many ways, all while building valuable relationships; I would encourage anyone interested in doing research to consider being a part of this vibrant group!”

- Luwi Shamambo, Medicine, Health, and Society & Spanish ‘19

“My time in SyBBURE has truly shaped my college experience by allowing me to focus both in the lab and the classroom. Without the support of the program, I would have never been able to support myself and continue with full-time research during my summers as well as part-time research during my college semesters. But beyond monetary support, SyBBURE provided me with a family of nerdy and amazing scientists that not only helped guide me on my projects, but was a support system for any purpose. The sheer curiosity and creative energy from this group is beyond any group of people I have ever encountered, and I am truly grateful to have been a part of it. I now know that I will have a support network of successful and brilliant researchers for life. Thank you!!!”

- Chiaki Santiago, Neuroscience & Mathematics ‘19

“SyBBURE has given me so much confidence to pursue my passion for technology and innovation in the healthcare space. I always thought as a doctor I would be limited to only seeing patients and providing treatment, but SyBBURE has allowed me to expand my horizons into innovating and implementing technology and new ideas that can improve the health of a vastly greater number of people… SyBBURE helped me realize I want to continue to harness tech and tech solutions in my career beyond college!”

- Nitya Venkat, Neuroscience & Sociology ‘19

“SyBBURE had been possibly the best part of my collegiate and scientific career. This program has changed the way I think and see the world around me in more ways than I can describe. Thank you so much for everything you have done and continue to do for students.”

- Jad El Harake, Biomedical Engineering ‘18

“To say that my time with SyBBURE has been invaluable is an understatement. As a foreign student, my opportunities to pursue research and get funded are quite rare. SyBBURE has given me the opportunity to pursue research for long term, receive feedback on my work and engage in activities involving scientific inquiry and presentation, all of which have positively contributed to my development academically and personally. When I look back at my experience doing research with SyBBURE and compare it with the experiences of friends studying at other top universities, what comes to my mind is how much we were able to expand the frontiers of undergraduate research. I didn’t just work on a research project under the direction of a graduate student or a post-doc, I got the opportunity to work independently, ask my own questions and be more inventive and creative than I could ever expect.”

- Omar Omar, Molecular and Cellular Biology ‘18

“SyBBURE is a community of self-directed undergraduate researchers. More than working in a lab – it is the opportunity to investigate as a full-fledged scientist –come up with your own questions and find your own answers.”

- Xavier Ryan, Biomedical Engineering’17