Quantitative Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (QSURE)

Quantitative Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (QSURE)

Applications for Summer 2021 will open on October 19th. Questions? Send an e-mail to bstQSURE@mskcc.org.

Program Overview


The QSURE internship program is designed for exceptional undergraduate students with an aptitude in quantitative sciences and an interest in cancer and population health.  Students will participate in an individual research project and receive exposure to methods in biostatistics, epidemiology and health outcomes research. QSURE is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (R25 CA214255).

Program Goal

The QSURE program aims to provide a hands-on research experience to undergraduates with an aptitude for and interest in quantitative sciences in cancer. By conducting research in biostatistics, epidemiology or health outcomes research, students will advance their quantitative skills and knowledge, as well as their understanding of options for graduate study and careers in these areas.

Important Information

  • A modest stipend will be provided
  • Applicants must be authorized to work in the US
  • Students are responsible for their own housing, but QSURE will provide a nominal reimbursement for housing expenses
  • The program will run from June 1st to August 7th

Application Timeline for Summer 2020

  • October 7th: applications open
  • January 17th: applications close at 5pm EST
  • Decisions will be announced on or before March 2nd
Eligibility Criteria

Eligible applicants must:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time undergrad student with an expected graduation after December 2020
  • Be authorized to work in the US
  • Be in good academic standing

Competitive Applicants Will Have

  • A keen interest in cancer and population health
  • Experience or aptitude in data analysis
  • A strong academic record
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • At least one semester of college statistics (AP statistics courses do not count)
Application Requirements
  • Resume
  • Statement of interest (~ 500 words)
  • Letter of good academic standing from Dean, College Counselor or equivalent
  • Letter of recommendation from Professor or equivalent
Selection Process

After the Program Directors conduct the first review of applications and make preliminary recommendations for admission, each faculty mentor reviews the suggested pool and selects the applicant that best matches their planned project. Attributes of successful applicants include:

  • Demonstration of a desire to pursue graduate education or a career in quantitative sciences in health (e.g., statistics, biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy, behavioral sciences)
  • Motivation and aptitude for independent and collaborative research
  • Inquisitive mind
  • Commitment to professional conduct and integrity
  • Interests that align with an available project
Internship Location

The QSURE Internship is sponsored by Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, located in midtown Manhattan. The Department’s offices at 485 Lexington Avenue are in easy walking distance of several New York City subway lines and the Metro North Railroad at Grand Central Terminal.  Penn Station (Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit) and the Port Authority Bus Terminal are easily accessible via mass transit. MSK operates regular shuttle buses between midtown and MSK’s main campus on the Upper East Side, where QSURE interns will have access to the MSK Library and to relevant lectures, seminars, and other educational activities.

Research Areas and Methods

Student research projects vary from year to year, but all involve learning and using quantitative methods in Biostatistics, Epidemiology or Health Outcomes Research. Common research areas and methods include:

  • Factors that improve cancer survival
  • Building models to predict individuals at high risk of cancer
  • Cancer risk factors and prevention
  • Computational biology/Cancer genetics and genomics
  • Quality and cost of cancer care
  • Treatment-related side effects in cancer survivors
  • Disparities in cancer care and outcomes
Examples of Past Projects

Accuracy of self-reported cigarette smoking in bladder cancer patients

The student quantified the difference in smoking patterns as reported by patients versus lab-confirmed values, and identified characteristics associated with patient misreporting. The results were presented at the American Urological Association Annual meeting.

Distribution of clinical features in patients receiving surgery for suspected renal cancer

The student analyzed the distribution of features (from tumor samples) and patient characteristics associated with a diagnosis of renal cancer.

Patterns of follow-up after treatment for early-stage breast cancer

The student summarized the types of follow-up received by patients after breast cancer treatment and identified characteristics related to discontinuation of follow-up.

The role of mobile facilities in access to screening mammography

The student expanded an existing database of all US screening mammography facilities by collecting data from different sources and analyzed differences between mobile and fixed facilities in terms of the populations they serve. The results were presented at the Esri Health GIS Conference.

Statistical methods for evaluating gene-environment interactions in case-control studies

The student examined statistical methods for evaluating interactions between a genetic factor and environmental exposure. These concepts were applied to an epidemiologic study on the risk of skin cancer based on sun exposure among people with or without the MC1R gene. The results were presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.

Linear regression and the Box-Cox transformation

The student applied linear regression techniques with Box-Cox transformation to analyze continuous outcomes from a study of Nevi (a type of mole on the skin) in children.

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MSK is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of recruiting and employment. All qualified individuals are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran status or any other factor which cannot lawfully be used as a basis for an employment decision.