Message from the Directors

Dear Applicant,

I am very excited about the Stanford’s Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’s innovative STaRS summer internship program.  Each year, we host talented students in our research laboratory where they join research teams led by experienced (PhD level) mentors who dedicate invaluable time to inspire and guide them on their first steps towards a successful career in science.

We are always looking for interns that possess tenacity and drive, enthusiasm and curiosity.  We appreciate tenacity and drive- and both will be valuable traits to possess once you’re in the lab doing experiments. Why enthusiasm?  We recognize that when you’re interested in something-when you’re really passionate about what you do- you’ll invest more time and energy, and consequently do it better than even you expect! And lastly, curiosity or inquisitiveness, this desire to understand “why?” lies in the heart of every scientist, entrepreneur, inventor, and creator.  Use these characteristics throughout their internship, and you’ll be amazed at what you learn, not only about science and medicine, but about yourself.

Jill Helms, DDS, PhD
Professor, Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Director of Stanford STaRS Internship


Dear Applicant,

Thank you for your interest in the STaRS program. This is truly an exciting time for reconstructive surgery.  New biomaterials, surgical techniques, and computer imaging will allow surgeons to repair and reconstruct patients with optimal form and function. Our goal for this program is to attract the brightest minds to this field.

Each student will be exposed to the principles of reconstructive surgery and will work on a specific laboratory project that may impact the future care of our patients.   We hope to identify, mentor, and create the next generation of academic scientists and surgeons who will transform reconstructive surgery.

James Chang, MD
Chief, Division of
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Co-Director of Stanford STaRS Internship

Dear Applicant,

I’d like to extend my invitation to join us in some exciting research projects!  The work we do here will be fulfilling to you in a number of ways.

First, you’ll be working with supportive people who totally love the work they do, and love communicating that enthusiasm to others.  Second, the work we do here in the lab means something significant in the grand scheme of things; we work on significant clinical health problems relating to craniofacial deformities, regenerative medicine of hard and soft tissue, and the use of oral and maxillofacial implants in bone.  Third, at the risk of tooting our own horns, we’re pretty good at what we do here, so you will be working alongside some of the top workers in their respective fields.

Finally, for those of you who might want to use this summer research experience to discover what types of subjects/careers most excite you, I’m sure you’ll find that at least in some of our projects, we offer a nice mixture of deep biological science plus hard-core hands-on engineering and bioengineering.  In fact, the genuine interdisciplinary nature of our work is perhaps our strongest attribute: we have a seamless, productive collaboration among biological and engineering experts.  This means you’ll have the opportunity to explore both biological and engineering topics. 

John Brunski, BS, MS, PhD
Senior Engineer Researcher
Co-Director of Stanford STaRS Internship