It has been relatively uncommon for graduate students in the life sciences to complete internships, but given the fact that more than 80% of life science PhD graduates enter careers outside of academia it is something we encourage our Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) students to consider.

Arguably, the best time to intern is during the summer of your first year, before you have immersed yourself in a research project, but later may work as well.  Just be sure to discuss it with your advisor.

Below you will find some resources to help you navigate the process of finding and applying for an internship as a graduate student.  Internship positions are commonly posted in the fall for the following summer, but not all positions are advertised.

CMB students interested in internship opportunities should contact Jean Peccoud or Carol Wilusz for further guidance.

View Ten Simple Rules for Internship in a Pharmaceutical Company by Bin Chen, who completed five internships during his PhD at Indiana University, and is now an Assistant Professor at University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

St. Jude Children's Hospital Logo

CMB Student Internship Experience

In the summer of 2018, Kristen Brown from Tai Montgomery’s lab in the Biology Department completed a Bioinformatics Software Engineer Internship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Here is a brief excerpt of her experience:

I tested out life as a bioinformatics software engineer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through an internship with someone I met at a Supercomputing Conference in 2016. There is a much-needed push for reproducibility in computational biology, especially at larger institutions and companies doing biomedical research. A lot of what I worked on was porting code to a workflow language designed to maximize portability of data analysis and code. I completed a few pipelines that worked on our HPC cluster and the cloud while learning about best practices in software development.

Another valuable thing I got from this internship was experiencing a new work environment on a great team. As PhD students, we often work on projects independently instead of large team projects. In order to be a highly effective team producing a product, such as software, it requires the right leadership and training that we may miss out on in graduate school if we don’t seek it. Internships in positions similar to what you may end up doing are a great way of learning what kind of work environment you thrive in and if academia is actually good fit for you. If you can do an internship, collaborate with industry partners, or attend business workshops I think it will be a valuable experience for anyone thinking about their career options. Regardless of what I end up doing, I am glad I had this opportunity to work with awesome people!

Colorado Biotech

Here are a few Colorado based companies that may have internship or externship / shadowing opportunities.  Contact Carol Wilusz for help with making connections at these companies.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Logo

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in Golden, advances the science and engineering of energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable power technologies, and provides the knowledge to integrate and optimize energy systems.

SomaLogic Logo

Located in Boulder, SomaLogic aims to scan the living data stream of human proteins with greater precision, sensitivity and scale than anybody in the world, and translate it into actionable insights for every seeker and enabler of human health.

Horizon Inspired Cell Solutions Logo

Horizon is a fully integrated Life Science company that provides enabling products, services and research programs to clients engaged at every stage of the healthcare continuum from sequence to treatment.  They are located in Lafayette, CO.

Archer Logo

Archer, in Boulder, addresses the bottlenecks associated with using next-generation sequencing in translational research by offering a robust platform for targeted sequencing applications.

BioSpace Logo

BioSpace champions the Life Sciences industry as a digital hub for news and careers, and since 1985, providing essential insights, opportunities and tools to connect the innovative organizations and talented professionals who advance health and quality of life across the globe.

Additional Opportunities

Genetech Logo
Amgen Logo
Illumina Logo
Bio Rad Logo
Abbvie Logo
National Institutes of Health Logo
National Science Foundation Logo
American Association for the Advancement of Science Logo