Duke University Neuroscience Experience

picture of a dune with the words Duke University Neuroscience Experience


Duke University Neuroscience Experience (DUNE) provides high school students with a paid cutting-edge research experience in neuroscience laboratories at Duke University and encourages participation by students from underrepresented minority groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).




students investigate a brain specimen

Program Information

Frequently Asked Questions











Program Information

  • DUNE is an 8-week paid summer research program for rising juniors and seniors or graduating seniors who have not yet applied to college, from high schools within the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.
  • Students will be selected after submitting the application and two letters of recommendation from teachers or advisors.
  • Accepted students will be matched with participating labs based on their research interests.
  • Students will participate in:
    • Professional development activities such as college advising, scientific communication workshops, career sessions
    • Lectures by faculty on cutting-edge research on the verge of academia, industry, and medicine
    • An end of program poster session where they will present their research

Frequently Asked Questions

students and faculty look at a brain specimen

Who is the DUNE Summer Research Program for?

Participating students must be:

  • Rising juniors (summer after sophomore and before junior year) OR
  • Rising seniors (summer after junior year and before senior year) OR
  • Graduating seniors who have not yet applied to college


  • Be at least 15 years old by the program’s start date
  • Attend a high school in the research triangle area of North Carolina
Is there a cost to attend the program?

There is no cost to attend the program. All participating students will receive a stipend of up to $2,460.

Is on-campus housing provided?

As this program is virtual for 2021, on-campus housing will not be provided or necessary.

What is the application fee?

There is no application fee: applying to DUNE is completely free.

Can you pick your lab?

No, students cannot choose their lab. If accepted, you will be given a list of faculty who have offered to host students in their labs and their research topics which you will rank.  Please do not contact faculty on your own for the lab placement.

What will the summer be like?

Due to COVID-19, all lab work and DUNE events will be held online in the summer of 2021, from June 14-August 6. The first day there will be an orientation session which includes mandatory safety training. This will be proceeded by an online meeting with your lab mentors. Throughout the summer, you will attend online lectures three times a week in the morning and the rest of the day will be dedicated to your lab work. Most of the summer is reserved for full time lab work. You should expect to work around 30 hours a week during the program (Monday through Friday, no evening or weekend hours). With special lectures and workshops the total weekly commitment is no more than 40 hours per week. During the last week of the program, you will be busy preparing your poster for the poster session.

What is the poster session?

The poster session is the highlight of your summer DUNE work! At the poster session, you will present the results of your work to your peers, parents, and the members of the Duke research community (faculty, students, and staff). The poster session will be held in the evening before the last day of the program. You will be provided with extensive guidance on how to present your work throughout the program.

Who are the mentors?

All day to day mentors are Duke graduate students or post-doctoral fellows who will work closely with each student to carry out a research project in the lab of a faculty member.

Do I have to be there all 8 weeks?

Yes, students are expected to participate in all 8 weeks (June 14-August 6, 2021) of the program and are required to attend the online orientation on the first day, all safety sessions, professional development activities, faculty lectures and the poster session.


What if I don’t live in the Research Triangle Area?

In our first year, we restrict the applicant pool to the Research Triangle schools only. We hope that as the program grows in future years, we will be able to accept students from a broader area.


Applications for the 2021 DUNE cohort have been closed. We will update this page in the fall with details to apply for 2022.