Message from the Directors

Dear Applicant,

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for considering applying for our STaRS summer internship program.  Each year, we host a group of talented young individuals who are interested in the fields of stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, and biomedical research. In our research laboratory, these interns work side-by-side with experienced clinician/scientist mentors, who will challenge, inspire and guide them on their first steps toward a career in medicine and biomedical research.

We look to identify individuals that possess tenacity and drive, enthusiasm and curiosity. Prior lab experience is not a prerequisite because we recognize that some students don’t have the same opportunities as others to explore hands-on science. Passion, however, is essential: we have found that when you’re really interested in something, you’ll invest more time and energy- and with that added effort invariably comes success.

Curiosity is also important. Every scientist, entrepreneur, inventor, and creator will tell you that inquisitiveness, that willingness to think in new and different ways, is the most valuable characteristic you can possess. When it is coupled with perseverance and determination, there’s no telling what you can learn about science and medicine- and also 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