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There will be various program opportunities that students can choose from, ranging from a 5 day program to a comprehensive 6 week lab experience that includes a 3 week residential component. The program information is provided below. Students can apply and potentially be accepted into both programs. The 6 week program will also have a commuter only option for those who do not wish to stay in the dorms for the first 3 weeks of the program.

Application for BE-BOAT 5-Day program is now open!

BioEngineering Summer High School Internship Program (BE-SHIP)

This unique summer internship program aims to provide a state-of-the-art Bioengineering experience for rising high school students. Students will be able to join a forefront research lab in Bioengineering at UC San Diego for six weeks during the summer. They will be able to work closely with a lab mentor and faculty investigator on a Bioengineering research project. Projects range from discovery-stage science to application-stage development. Topics range from genes, molecules, and cells, to materials, tissues, organs, and organisms. Target diseases range from arthritis and cancer, to heart disease. In addition, they will obtain an overview of the field of Bioengineering and hear specialized lectures from forefront researchers. They will also learn about career pathways in Bioengineering.

The program is designed to provide students with a residential component as well as a commuter component. The first 3 weeks of the program are strictly residential. Students will be able to live in a dorm with others in the Academic Connections program so that they can experience first-hand college life. The last 3 weeks of the program are commuter based. Students will be responsible for their own accommodations and transportation to and from campus on the last 3 weeks.
Students will be able to rank the projects and faculty they would like to work in their application from the options below. Please read them carefully. There is also the option to have no preference in projects.

*Students will receive 12 units of Pre-college credit for attending the 6 week program. 

Program Dates: July 5th - August 14th, 2020 

Application Fee - $100

Tuition - $7,500 (Includes a residence fee for those who want housing in the first 3 weeks and SAT test prep)

Tuition - $6,000 - (for students who wish to take the commuter option only)

*Please note that the first 3 weeks of this program are residential. Students will move into the dorms on July 5th and move out on July 25th. They will be housed with students attending the Academic Connections program. All residential rules and policies will apply. 

Grade Level - Students must currently be in 10th -12 grade and 16 years of age before 7/5/2020

Minimum GPA - 3.0

Participating Faculty Memebers and Projects

*Students will be able to rank which faculty they would like to work with in their applications

Francisco Contijoch, PhD (Faculty ProfileLab Website)

Dr. Contijoch’s primary research interests are translational imaging techniques to better diagnose, monitor, and understand cardiac dysfunction and vascular disease. The student intern will help develop and apply novel magnetic resonance (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and echocardiography imaging techniques to better visualize function of the cardiovascular system. These techniques help to understand normal physiology, the processes which change during disease, and the response to treatments in the right ventricular dysfunction and pulmonary vascular disease.

Francisco Contijoch

Adam Engler, PhD (Faculty Profile, Lab Website)

The Engler lab studies the mechanobiology of stem cells, progenitor cells, and their progeny as well as cancer cells using methods of tissue engineering, biomaterials, cell and molecular biology, and genetics. This project will involve students developing new materials that stiffen with time to mimic the remodeling that occurs with heart disease. Participants will also use cutting edge genetic tools to create and use patient-derived stem cells to create heart cells. Patients with specific mutations will be studied within the biomaterial to determine what effects the stiffened environment has on mutant and wild-type cells.

Adam Engler

Prashant Mali, PhD (Faculty Profile, Lab Website)

Students will work on one of two projects:

(a) Gene Therapy: We engineer molecular reagents to enable precise edits in the genome or transcriptome of cells bearing disease causing mutations. We aim to test these in cells and eventually in mice. Researchers will learn and use techniques including cell culture, molecular biology, and synthetic biology.

(b) Cell Therapy: We develop and use a vascularized bioprinting platform to create tissues ex vivo. We aim to build functional and mature tissue constructs by incorporating constituent cells generated by differentiating pluripotent stem cells and by systematic evaluation of biomaterials, media, and the local cellular microenvironment. Researchers will learn and use techniques including cell culture, tissue engineering, and synthetic biology.

Prashant Mail

Andrew McCulloch, PhD (Faculty Profile, Lab Website)

The research focus of the Cardiac Mechanics Research Group is the mechanics and electrical dynamics of the normal and diseased heart from molecular to organ scales. We use computational modeling and integrated experiments to investigate excitation-contraction coupling and the role of mechanoelectric feedback in action potential propagation. The in-silico modeling includes signal transduction pathways involved in calcium cycling and hypertrophy. The research intern will use experimental and computational models to investigate the relationships between the cellular and extracellular structure of cardiac muscle and the electrical and mechanical function of the heart during ventricular remodeling and cardiac arrhythmia.  

Andrew McCulloch

Robert Sah, MD, ScD (Faculty Profile, Lab Website)

The Cartilage Tissue Engineering lab studies the dynamics of cartilage, bones, and joints that lead to their function, failure, and restoration. We conduct experiments and develop computational models to determine how mechanical factors cause joint deterioration after knee injury and in osteoarthritis. We study the repair of damaged cartilage with osteochondral (allo)grafts that are generally effective for repairing large areas of damaged cartilage but limited by donor availability. Students will conduct experiments involving (1) imaging and biomechanics to determine the structural basis of cartilage function and failure, or (2) tissue engineering and bioreactors to create more effective off-the-shelf osteochondral implants to resurface damaged joints.

Robert Sah

Daniela Valdez-Jasso, PhD (Faculty Profile, Lab Website)

We focus on soft-tissue biomechanics and multi-scale mathematical modeling of organ and tissue function, particularly as they pertain to understanding the adaptations of the heart, vessels, and lungs to pulmonary hypertension (PH). We incorporate key experimental findings into mechanistic mathematical models to evaluate quantitative computational formulations of organ and tissue function. The student will investigate the dynamic vascular remodeling process in PH at the tissue level, and use the results to evaluate effects at the system level.

Daniela Jasso

Yingxiao Wang, PhD (Faculty Profile, Lab Website)

The student will work on the development of genetically-encoded molecule biosensors based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and the application of these biosensors for the visualization and quantification of molecular signals in live cells with high spatiotemporal resolution under physical/mechanical environment. The results will integrate the cutting-edge technologies in molecular engineering, live cell imaging, and nanotechnology for the engineering of machinery molecules to reprogram cellular functions


Sameer Shah, PhD (Faculty Profile, Lab Website)

Dr. Shah’s lab seeks to enhance surgical decision-making and develop new physical therapy protocols for improving peripheral nerve function. His lab develops tissue engineering and biomedical device-based strategies for peripheral nerve regeneration or repair based on improved understanding of relationships among nerve ultrastructure, biomechanics, and physiological function. The student intern will help study the function, dysfunction, and repair of the neuromuscular system at molecular, cellular, and tissue scales.


BioEngineering Broad Overview and Techniques 5 Day Summer Program

In each program, students will obtain an overview of a major area of Bioengineering and also learn hands-on techniques in the context of a mini-research study.

Session 1: Biomedical Engineering for Health, Injury, and Disease

Program Dates: June 15th - June 19th, 2020 

Students will obtain a broad overview and hands on-skills of Biomedical Engineering for Health, Injury, and Disease. They will learn how to measure, model, mimic, and manipulate the chemical, mechanical, and electrical processes that govern body functions. Students will also learn how 3D printing and CT imaging can be used to decipher the functional design of tissues and organs. These are core skills are used in academia and industry to create new instruments and devices to monitor and improve health, and to diagnose and treat injury and disease including broken bones, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, and abnormal growth.

Session 2: Mammalian Cell Culture - Foundations for Bioengineering, Tissue Engineering, and Regenerative Medicine

Program Dates: June 22nd - June 26th, 2020 

Students will obtain an overview of Bioengineering Biotechnology and hands-on skills in the fundamentals of mammalian cell culture. They will learn how to thaw, grow, propagate, and freeze mammalian cells. These are the core skills used in academia and industry to create new cell and tissue therapies, ranging from treating arthritis, to inducing heart regeneration, and curing cancer.

Session 3: BioMechanics and MechanoBiology

Program Dates: August 3rd - August 7th, 2020

Students will obtain a broad overview and hands-on skills of BioMechanics and MechanoBiology. Students will learn the basis for the shape, size, support, and movement of the body, and for how biological structures stretch, compress, bend, and break. Students will learn how tissues respond to mechanical stimuli by remodeling, growing, and deteriorating. Students will dissect and manipulate knees and spines, as examples of movable and flexible joints. Students interested in exploring careers in bioengineering, biology, medicine, surgery, dentistry, and pharmacology are encouraged to apply.

Fees and Qualifications

Application Fee - $75

Tuition - $1,000 each session

Grade Level - Students must currently be in 9th -12 grade and 15 years of age before 6/15/2020

Minimum GPA - 3.0

Academic Schedule - Students may apply to one, two, or all three five-day programs. Students are required to attend all 5 days of the program in order to avoid dismissal from the program. This is a commuter program and students must arrange for transportation to and from UC San Diego. The schedule can be found here

*Students will receive 3 units of Pre-College credit for attending each program. 

Other Program Information

BioEngineering Acceptance

Program information will be e-mailed to all students accepted into the program. 

For the 5 day and 6 week program, students will be notified in March 2020. 

BioEngineering Cancellation/Refund Policies

All application fees are nonrefundable. 

For the BE-SHIP 6 week program, the following deadlines apply: 

  • Cancellation or withdrawal for any reason prior to April 1, 2020 will receive a full refund 
  • Cancellation or withdrawal for any reason April 2- May 31, 2020 will receive 50% refund 
  • Refunds for cancellation or withdrawal after May 31, 2020  will be issued for serious illness (doctor's certificate is required) or extenuating circumstances only. Tuition is not refunded for students who are dismissed from the program or who leave because of homesickness.

For Bioengineering 5-Day Programs

  • Students will have 30 days to submit payment for the program 
  • Cancellation or withdrawal for any reason after payment is made through April 1, 2020 will entail a 50% refund 
  • Refunds for cancellation or withdrawal after April 2, 2020  will be issued for serious illness (doctor's certificate is required) or extenuating circumstances only.

All refund requests must be made in writing to Maysoon Dong, Sr. Program Manager, UCSD Pre-College Programs at: You will receive a confirmation of your request. Refunds will take approximately 4-6 weeks to process. Refunds are issued in the same method of payment (check or charge) of payment to UC San Diego Academic Connections.


Hear from Our Students:

"I loved working in the lab and gaining exposure to what it's like to be a student researcher!"

"My PI spent many meetings helping me with my presentation and overseeing my research. My mentors were so patient and allowed me to slowly become independent in the research."

"My mentors were extremely thoughtful, deliberate, and nice in guiding my project and making it an immersive learning experience."