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Introducing the 11 Illinois students selected as Mayo Clinic's 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

Each year, Mayo Clinic invites around 180 undergraduates from across the nation to participate in their Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. Sponsored by the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, this 10-week program gives undergraduates a chance to work at the forefront of biomedical research at one of the world’s leading medical centers.

Students work in the laboratories of Mayo Clinic faculty on small research projects or as part of ongoing investigations, attend weekly seminars, and get to test their inclinations toward a career in biomedical research.

As part of our longstanding collaboration, Mayo Clinic reserves seven spots each year for University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students who are chosen by the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance pre-selection committee. Because students are selected for their innovative excellence, often more than seven U. of I. students are invited to participate in this prestigious undergraduate fellowship. This year, we are proud to announce that 11 U. of I. students are headed to Rochester, MN, to participate in the SURF program!

This cohort boasts some notable undergraduate research credentials, including first author publication and design and development of projects for Engineering Open House – a one hundred-year-old University of Illinois tradition that typically draws around 20,000 attendees each year (though it has looked remarkably different the last couple of years). They have also worked with some of the University of Illinois’ most accomplished researchers in engineering and the social and life sciences.


Edward Huang (he/him) is a senior in the Integrative Biology Honors program with a minor in chemistry. Edward is interested in the discovery of antimicrobial systems in nature and how such mechanisms paired with genetic-engineering techniques can inspire tenable solutions for the looming antibacterial-resistance crisis. He plans to pursue a MD-PhD in immunology. At the University of Illinois, Edward works in Professor Huimin Zhao’s laboratory. He is the president of the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children as well as Research Unit Leader and lead EMT for Illini Emergency Medical Services. At Mayo Clinic, Edward will be working with Adrian T. Ting, Ph.D., who is conducting research on tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and developing its potential as a revolutionary immunotherapy for cancer treatment.

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Publication Date: 06/21/2021
Photo credits: courtesy of Mayo Clinic