Non-malignant urinary disorders cost Americans >$10 billion annually. We face numerous challenges in driving down costs and improving outcomes in: identifying disease mechanisms, developing effective pharmaceuticals, improving diagnostics and surgical outcomes, empowering community medicine, and improving patient care and quality of life. Most importantly, we need a pool of collaborative-minded investigators from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to address current and future needs.


Our program fulfills a unique need among summer education programs related to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. While most summer undergraduate student programs have had a kidney or hematologic focus the lower urinary tract has been and continues to be relatively underrepresented. Moreover, there are more career and research opportunities in areas related to the lower urinary tract versus other areas of biomedical science. Our SPUUR program, which focuses exclusively on the lower urinary tract, is thus unique. We will provide a hands-on curriculum that introduces students to challenges and opportunities presented to the urologic surgeon, basic urologic researcher, nurse, pharmacist, and veterinarian. We will develop responsible conduct in research and deliver exciting research experiences to stimulate lifelong interest in urology. We will recruit undergraduate students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds and leverage the unique urology research resources at the UW-Madison to build scholar professional networks. We will ensure direct contact between our scholars and investigators at leading urology research institutions across the U.S. to support recruitment for advanced degree training.


There is no cost to students. Students will be provided a generous stipend plus housing arrangements for this 10-week program. The UW-Madison SPUUR is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is a partnership between the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and the School of Veterinary Medicine. The Department of Urology in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health is also a primary sponsor.


Up to 10 undergraduate students will be accepted for a 10-week, full-time, supervised and mentored research opportunity (Tues., May 28 through Fri., August 2, 2024). Students will be assigned individual research projects and spend most of their time in hands-on biomedical research with a team consisting of a faculty mentor and graduate and post-graduate trainees. A weekly seminar series will provide:

  • Interactions with other faculty and students at UW-Madison and beyond in a variety of in-person and virtual opportunities
  • Presentations and lectures by scientists and clinicians
  • Workshops in scientific methodology and responsible conduct of research
  • Training and hands-on practicums in science reading, writing, and presentation
  • Educational enrichments led by faculty, community health experts, patient advocacy organizations, public health scholars, and more
  • An orientation to preparing for graduate school
  • Tours of various research and biomedical facilities affiliated with UW-Madison (e.g., swine research center, MRI facility, investigators’ research labs, urology simulation lab)

Students will present their work at the end of the 10-week experience in multiple opportunities, including virtual and in-person venues.

UW-Madison SPUUR Scholars Get a Jump Start on Networking and Collaboration

The UW-Madison SPUUR Program is unique among summer undergraduate research programs for its engagement with a national research network. UW-Madison SPUUR scholars are part of a larger Cooperative Urology Research Program, including the George M. O’Brien Urology Centers, which are funded by the National Institute of Digestive, Diabetes and Kidney Diseases, one of the institutes that make the National Institutes of Health. These urology centers are located at multiple institutions in the US.

UW-Madison SPUUR scholars will represent the University of Wisconsin-Madison George M. O’Brien Center, which is part of the collaborative community of researchers called CAIRIBU (Collaborating for the Advancement of Interdisciplinary Research in Benign Urology). UW-Madison SPUUR scholars will have opportunities to interact and network with other students and trainees within the CAIRIBU Community in various virtual learning activities. SPUUR scholars will also meet faculty from other institutions as well as NIH program officers. UW-Madison SPUUR scholars may be invited to present their research at the annual CAIRIBU meeting in December, providing yet another opportunity to meet and get to know investigators and clinicians engaged in urology research.