OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Ted R. Lilley CURE Program

2019 CURE Students
CURE interns at the Knight Cancer Research Building in 2019.

Hands-on research experiences for Portland-area high school students

The Ted R. Lilley Continuing Umbrella of Research Education (CURE) Program is a research internship program supported by the Knight Cancer Institute and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. It offers hands-on research experiences to Portland-area high school students who excel academically and come from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The goal of this program is to address the issue of health equity by increasing participation of underserved and underrepresented minorities in biomedical research and other health-related fields.

What can CURE Interns expect?

  • Work a maximum of 40 hours a week (includes seminars) for 8 weeks in a lab with a Knight Cancer Institute faculty member
  • A stipend (approximately $11 an hour/40 hours a week) and a bus pass for the duration of the program
  • Attend weekly seminars, as well as adhere to faculty mentor expectations and curriculum
  • Participate in a poster presentation attended by the lab employees, directors and other staff of the Knight Cancer Institute

Internship dates

The eight-week CURE Research Program is scheduled for Monday, June 20, 2022 through Friday, August 12, 2022. CURE interns will be selected in January. Interns will work a maximum of 40 hours per work (including weekly seminars).

What do I need to do to apply?

Applications for the 2022 Ted R Lilley CURE Program are closed.

Applications for the 2023 Ted R Lilley CURE Program will open in October 2022.

 Use the checklist below to prepare your application submission:  

  • List of biology and chemistry courses taken. Include grades received for each.
  • High school transcript. Unofficial transcripts are accepted for the application process. You will upload a PDF of your most recent transcript. If you are selected as a CURE Intern, your admission to the program will be pending until an official transcript, is received. 
  • Resume. Include volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, community service and work history.
  • Essay. Include your career goals, extracurricular activities, intellectual interests, future educational plans and the reason you would like to participate in this program. Share any obstacles or challenges you have overcome and explain how this internship would further enhance your goals. Describe any research you have done and areas of research interest.
  • Two letters of recommendation. One of the letters must be from a high school science teacher. The second recommendation can be from a community leader, teacher, coach, counselor, etc.  

If you have questions or need more information, email the Knight Cancer Institute (cureinternship@ohsu.edu) or call 503 418 9698.

Frequently asked questions

  • Students who are sophomores, juniors or seniors from Oregon high schools (preference for selection is given to students with 2 years of high school remaining and those who attend public schools in the Portland Metro area)
  • Students belonging to a group that is historically underrepresented or socially and economically disadvantaged (see below definitions)
  • Must be 16 or older when the program begins in June
  • Must have a 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Must have taken at least one lab science class, preferably biology and have an interest in research
  • Economically disadvantaged is defined as individuals who come from a low income family, using low-income levels as specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Socially disadvantaged means students coming from an environment that may inhibit them from obtaining knowledge, skills or abilities in pursuit of education in a health field.  This includes, but is not restricted to, students whose parents did not attend or complete college; and/or students being reared by a single or divorced parent.
  • Underrepresented students belong to groups that are recognized as historically underrepresented in the health and science professions including: African-American/Black, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander and Hispanics/Latinos.

We expect to notify all applicants in January.

The CURE program is planning to be in-person for the summer of 2022, but we acknowledge that further spread of COVID-19 may prevent that.  If we are not able to be in-person, we will offer a shortened program over the summer consisting of virtual seminars with doctors, scientists, current medical students, and others.

Please note: In compliance with Oregon law, OHSU’s COVID-19 Immunization and Education policy will go in effect Oct. 18, 2021. Visitors and volunteers who have an in-person assignment must be fully vaccinated (14 days after last dose). Exception requests from visitors and volunteers will not be accepted. Please be prepared to provide proof of vaccination, or to receive a Covid-19 vaccination, as a requirement for onboarding for your in-person assignment at OHSU. You will not be allowed to participate within OHSU if you are not compliant with this policy.

Contact us

For more information:

2019 Poster Symposium

Ted R. Lilley CURE Program intern Bereket presents his research project at the poster symposium in the Knight Cancer Research Building, 2019

“My brother had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. When he passed away I was dumbfounded that not a single treatment was capable of curing a common cancer," says 2018 CURE Program intern Guadalupe. "I questioned everything and it made me want to know why this type of cancer couldn’t be cured in him when the treatment had cured others. It sparked my interest in cancer research.”