ISNI (Illinois Summer Neuroscience Institute)

ISNI 2012 group

Our apologies: we are NOT currently accepting applications for ISNI 2016

There's the case of the stroke patient who woke up screaming that someone had placed a severed limb in his bed and attempted to hurl his own leg onto the floor, convinced it didn't belong to him. There's the long-distance runner who, after having brain surgery to stop debilitating seizures, lost all sense of time and could run for days without knowing how long she'd been on the road. There's the unforgettable case of H.M., the amnesic who could form short-term memories, but lost the ability to encode new long-term memories. Then, there are the smaller wonders-the mystery of neuronal plasticity, the puzzle of peripheral nervous system regeneration, and the challenge of studying an organ that is intricate, ever-changing, and fundamental to not just our health but our personalities, our identities, and our relationships. There is no field quite like neuroscience.

Whether you're just getting interested in the field of neuroscience or are actively pursuing postgraduate opportunities, The Illinois Summer Neuroscience Institute (ISNI) offers the chance to explore for yourself the wide range of neuroscience research at the University of Illinois. ISNI is a one-week, all expense-paid program that will offer a select group of students a firsthand look at what a research career in neuroscience entails, as well as the opportunity to connect with faculty studying neuroscience from engineering, psychological, behavioral, and molecular perspectives. ISNI is organized and led by the UIUC Neuroscience Program, and ISNI 2015 will run from May 18 - 22.

The ISNI application deadline has been
extended to March 1

Students attending ISNI may expect a very full week of activities. Specific activities include research presentations by Neuroscience faculty, discussions of current and future developments in neuroscience, laboratory exercises that acquaint students with the methods and the challenges of research, a chance to interact with graduate and medical students pursuing careers in neuroscience, tours of the campus and facilities, breakfast and lunch discussions of careers, graduate school, and minority issues, and social activities with the Neuroscience Program.

ISNI 2011 class ISNI 2011 work ISNI 2011 friends

Admission to ISNI is limited to 26 students and will be based on our assessment of each applicant's potential and enthusiasm for research. We seek students from around the country, particularly from the Midwest region, with a wide variety of backgrounds; prior experience with neuroscience is helpful but is not  required. ISNI strives to provide an opportunity to students who do not have extensive neuroscience resources in their home and college environments. We are especially interested in recruiting students from minority groups who are underrepresented in the research community. We try to bring together students with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas. All current undergraduates who will still be enrolled as of January 1, 2015, are eligible, but those in their freshman and sophomore years are particularly encouraged to apply.

Students who qualify may apply for admission to both ISNI and the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) ( at Illinois. SROP runs for ten weeks, from early June through the first week of August. Students applying for both ISNI and SROP need to complete both the ISNI and the SROP application, located at the link above.

If you are interested in ISNI, or have questions, please e-mail us (

ISNI 2011 Lab


How to Apply

The 2015 ISNI application is due on March 1. However, exceptional applicants may be admitted early and you are encouraged to submit your application as early as possible. To be considered for participation in the Illinois Summer Neuroscience Institute, you must complete the following by March 1, 2015:

  • General Information, Part I: The application is a three-step process. The first part of the application includes general information that we encourage interested students to complete AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at:

  • Report of Academic References for Recommendation, Part II: You must provide one reference from a faculty member, academic advisor, or other person familiar with your academic work and interest in the neurosciences and neuroscience research. For current freshman students, this reference must be provided from a faculty member at your current institution. Your second reference may be from any person who is familiar with your interests and experience in research or neuroscience. You must provide the name, e-mail address, and contact telephone number for your references by the deadline via the application web site after completing Part I. Your references will be submitted by the indicated individuals via an online process.

  • Transcript Receipt/Personal Statement/Additional Information, Part III: This part of the application includes specific academic information (such as current GPA), a 500-word Personal Essay, and an official undergraduate transcript that includes graded coursework from the 2014 fall semester. The official transcript must be received by the deadline and submitted via mail to the following address:

    Illinois Summer Neuroscience Institute
    Re: Official Transcript
    Neuroscience Program
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    2311 Beckman Institute, MC-251
    405 N. Mathews Avenue
    Urbana, IL 61801

The Personal Essay must be typewritten, single-spaced, in Microsoft Word and uploaded to the online Web site as a .doc document. Part III of the application must be completed by March 1, 2015 by visiting the application web site after completing Part I.

The Personal Essay (500 words or less) should address the following:

  • When and how did you become interested in neuroscience and/or research?

  • What are your goals for your post-graduate education and career? Juniors and seniors: Do you plan to attend graduate school, medical school, or both?

  • How would ISNI participation aid in shaping your academic and career goals?

ISNI 2012 picnic ISNI 2012 picnic 2

Questions and Additional Information:

Please note that ISNI applicants who are eligible for participation in the SROP program must complete both the ISNI application AND the SROP application. If you have additional questions, please contact the Illinois Neuroscience Program at:

Illinois Summer Neuroscience Institute
UIUC Neuroscience Program
2311 Beckman Institute, MC-251
405 N. Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801

Top three pictures are courtesy of Nathan Adhikari. All other pictures courtesy of Annie Weisner and Carolina Soto.


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