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The goal of the program is to introduce you to cutting-edge research in the fields of cancer biology or cancer-related Public Health, to provide you with a realistic view of graduate school and of research careers in these areas, and to help you prepare to apply to graduate school. We look forward to meeting with you at our Partners Boot Camp, where we will give you additional details about the program and discuss the expectations of the program staff and of your research mentors. You will receive information from program coordinators about your mentor assignments for this summer. Once you have this information, contact your mentor to get acquainted and to ask for any instructions to be completed prior to your arrival.


Check into your dorm on Sunday between 9 AM and 5 PM–the Program begins on Sunday evening with a Welcome Dinner where you will meet other Partners participants as well as participants from several other summer programs. You will give a short presentation on your summer project during week 2, and participate in a final poster presentation during week 10. The remainder of your time will be spent either working in your lab or attending mandatory program seminars and presentations. You must remain in Chapel Hill until the end of the program. On the last day, program staff will be available from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM to check you out of your room. Please note that all rooms must be cleaned and checked by program staff and your key must be returned before you receive your final paycheck.


Students from the various summer research programs (REU, SOLAR, SPIRE, Partners, and Biophysics) are housed in the same dorm and will participate in many common activities. Thus, you will have a group of ~ 45 college students to interact with on a regular basis during the summer. You will have frequent interactions with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows during our professional development activities. Once room assignments have been made, we will send you a list of all summer participants including e-mail addresses. You may want to communicate with your quad-mates about who is bringing what (microwave, pots and pans, dishes, etc). Please note that we intentionally do not place Partners Programs students together in dorm rooms. We want to encourage interaction between all students in all summer programs and mixing you together in rooming assignments is one way to do this.


At 8:00 AM on the first Monday of the program you will travel as a group to the UNC One Card office; later in the morning there will be an Orientation, then lunch with your mentor. In the afternoon you will meet your mentors and lab mates and will go to your lab for further orientation. Throughout the first week there will be additional orientation and training activities; during this time you will be spending about 5 hours per day in your lab. After the first week, you will have an average of two professional development activities per week (about 3 hours). The rest of the time will be devoted to lab research (~40 hrs/week), to GRE preparation, and to social activities on some weekends and week nights. You will receive a calendar of events shortly before your arrival.


Your stipend will be paid in three installments. Assuming we received your information in time, the first check will be available during week one of the program. The second check will be ready the week of June 19; your final check will be available at checkout.


It is mandatory that you obtain a UNC One Card. This card provides you with access to most University services, including the libraries, dorm laundry facilities, and in some cases is necessary to enter campus buildings. Lisa Phillippie will contact you to obtain personal information that we must provide to UNC-CH administration before you can obtain a card. Please respond promptly to her e-mails or you will be delayed in obtaining a One Card, a parking permit, and your first stipend check. Bring $5 cash and a picture ID (driver’s license or passport) with you on the first Monday of the program–your first stop that day will be at the UNC One Card office to obtain your card.


The Program has arranged housing in the Ram Village Apartments. Rooms in Ram Village are apartment style with each apartment containing four small bedrooms (one person to each), two common bathrooms, shared kitchen, dining, and living areas. Each kitchen has a full-size stove and refrigerator/freezer, allowing you and your quad-mates to prepare your own meals. Common washers and dryers are available on a pay-per-use basis in a nearby dorm. Neither the program nor Ram Village provide linens, microwave ovens, pots, pans, dishes or utensils. Once we have assigned you to your quad rooms in the dorm, you may want to communicate with your quad-mates about who is bringing what (microwave, pots and pans, dishes, etc). We will take you to a local Target, Wal-Mart, or thrift shop during the first week to allow you to purchase items you cannot bring or have forgotten. We recommend that you bring the following items for your room. You can coordinate some of this with your quad-mates so as not to duplicate:

  • Hangers
  • TV Laptop Computer (+ Ethernet cable)
  • Blanket Pillow Bed sheets (36” W x 80” long mattress)
  • Towels
  • Toiletries
  • Plates, cups, cooking utensils
  • Microwave (1000 W or less)
  • Shower shoes
  • Bath mat


There are several fast food cafés and food courts on campus that are open from 7 AM (some earlier) Monday – Friday only; most of these close by 4 PM. Exceptions are of The Beach (limited service until 6 PM (M-F)) and the Terrace Café (7 days a week, 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM), located in the Children’s Hospital. Each Ram Village apartment has a kitchen with stove and refrigerator, allowing you and your quad-mates to cook your own meals if you so desire. This will stretch your food dollars as well as help you get to know your quad-mates. If you do not feel like cooking, there are many cafés  and restaurants on Franklin Street, about a mile away and on the bus routes.


Summer hours for Eagle Dining Services: W.G. Pearson Dining Hall, which is open Mondays-Fridays for Breakfast- 7:00 am –9:00am, Lunch-11: 30 am -2:00 pm; and Dinner- 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm. In the Mary Townes Science Building, there is Jazzmans Café that operates Mondays-Fridays 9:00 am-1:00 pm.


While you do not have to bring a car this summer, you may find a car convenient for grocery shopping and going to movies or other local sites. All cars parked on campus must display a parking permit issued by the UNC Department of Parking and Transportation. Parking rates for the summer have not been announced yet by the university; last summer the rate was $3.00/day. DO NOT plan on trying to park free of charge around campus; parking spots are scarce and vehicles illegally parked are ticketed ($30 – $50 for first offense) or towed.


While you do not have to bring a car this summer, you may find a car convenient for grocery shopping and going to movies or other local sites. Parking on NCCU’s campus is by permit only. All faculty, staff and students who park on campus are required to register their vehicles with the University Police Department, pay a registration fee and display a valid permit on their vehicle. Faculty, staff and student hangtags must be placed on the rearview mirror facing outward at all times the vehicle is parked on campus property. An NCCU parking permit authorizes parking in specific areas according to the permit designation (Faculty/Staff Reserved, Residential, Faculty/Staff Non-reserved and Commuter), but does not guarantee a parking space in a specific area. All areas not specifically designated for parking shall be considered “no parking” zones.

Please be aware that numbered spaces in student lots do not designate reserved spaces for students. These numbered spaces are only for faculty/staff reserved parking. If you park in these reserved spots, your vehicle is subject to ticketing and or towing. The campus-wide speed limit is 15 mph. The student parking rate for the summer is $75. DO NOT plan on trying to park free of charge around campus; parking spots are scarce and vehicles illegally parked are ticketed ($30 – $50 for first offense) or towed by the City of Durham. To obtain a parking permit please fill out the permit form found at the link below, and take it plus $75 to the Bursar’s Office which is found in the basement of the Hoey Administration building. You will then take your receipt to the Campus Police station where you will be issued a parking permit and a booklet that shows you where you are allowed to park on campus.


Upon arrival, we will provide you with a map of campus and a Chapel Hill transit bus schedule; no fare is required on any Chapel Hill Transit bus. Maps of all bus routes in Chapel Hill and real-time information about arrival at specific sites are available at . Be sure to check the summer schedule because service changes when the spring semester ends.


You may use Lisa Phillippie’s office address to receive regular mail and packages. Her address is:

Lisa Phillippie

Partners Program Administrator

Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

120 Mason Farm Road Genetic Medicine Building, Suite 3010

CB #7260

Chapel Hill, NC 27514


In addition to laboratory research, a number of other educational and social events are scheduled, including presentations by noted scientists from academia, industry, and government; an outing to a Durham Bulls baseball game; a trip to a North Carolina beach; an afternoon of team-building activities at the UNC Outdoor Recreation Center; and an end-of-program symposium. Other activities are in the planning stages. We will have a complete calendar of activities upon your arrival, so you and your faculty preceptor can schedule your time accordingly. We expect you to be here throughout the work week and for most weekends, especially when there are special required, cohort-building activities. Absence from the lab must be approved in advance by your faculty mentor; absence from required activities must be approved in advance by Dr. Keku.


Partners students are not eligible to use the UNC-CH Student Health Services or UNC Employee Health Services. Neither the Partners Program nor UNC-CH provide any type of health insurance or Workman’s Compensation for program participants. Therefore, be sure that you have current health insurance before you arrive and that you bring your insurance I.D. card with you. Most illnesses and injuries are best treated at one of the small, minor emergency clinics located 1 – 2 miles from campus. These small clinics are faster and much less expensive than a visit to the UNC Emergency Department. However, they do require payment in cash or credit card at the time of service. Students who need to see a physician for a serious illness or injury should go to the North Carolina Memorial Hospital Clinics or Emergency room. Students and their families are responsible for payment of all hospital and emergency room bills.


May in Chapel Hill can be very pleasant, with cool mornings and highs in the low to mid 70s. June and July are usually hot (average temperature 85-95 degrees) and very humid. All buildings are air-conditioned to about 74 degrees or lower. Rain is common in May and June, so a raincoat or umbrella and water-tolerant shoes are advised. Most everyone dresses very informally; but be sure to wear a lab coat while working in your lab (your mentor will provide the lab coat). Safety note: Occupational Safety requires that you wear closed-toe shoes in the lab. (Yes, it’s a drag, but safer.) So bring a pair of closed shoes that you can leave in the lab and then wear your comfy sandals and flip-flops the rest of the time. There are one or two planned activities for which you will want to dress nicely. “Business casual” is the dress-code for these events.


Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is centrally located in the state, 2-3 hours by car to the finest beaches on the East Coast and 3-4 hours to the Appalachian Mountains. Other State attractions include the Zoological Park in Asheboro, the Biltmore Estate and Mansion (former summer residence of the Vanderbilt family) in Asheville, the Colonial Governor’s Palace in New Bern, and the Village of Old Salem. In addition, Jordan Lake, a huge recreational area created by a dam, is just a few miles south of Chapel Hill; it’s quite a beautiful area with many nesting hawks and eagles so don’t miss it!

Chapel Hill is a small town of about 60,000 residents (half are students!) and is known for its pleasant village-like atmosphere and abundant greenery. The UNC-CH campus is bordered on the north by Franklin Street, where many coffee shops, stores selling Tar Heel paraphernalia, an art museum, 5 churches, an international array of restaurants, and small cafes that transform into music clubs after 11 pm. Carrboro, recently dubbed the “Paris of the South”, is a smaller town (about 20,000) immediately adjacent to Chapel Hill on the west. You can walk or bike to Carrboro where you will find many craft shops, an organic food store, many places to eat, and a Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning. You can learn more about Chapel Hill at


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is the largest of the 16 campuses in the UNC system and its flagship research institution. Approximately 25,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students are enrolled during the regular academic year; most undergraduates do not attend summer school so the campus feels much less busy in the summer. The campus has a 200-year history, and the old campus is one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Take time to walk across its many tree-lined quadrangles and gardens. Other campus attractions include the Dean E. Smith sports complex, home of the 2005, 2009, and 2017 NCAA National Champion Men’s Basketball team, the Ackland Art Museum, and the Morehead Planetarium, where the Apollo astronauts trained in celestial navigation. The home page for UNC Chapel Hill is found at


North Carolina Central University was founded in 1909 as the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua by Dr. James Edward Shepard. It became the first public liberal arts institution for African Americans in the nation. The University is now a master’s comprehensive institution that offers bachelors and master’s degrees, a Juris Doctor, and a Ph.D. in Integrated Biosciences to a diverse student population. Approximately 6,400 undergraduate and 1,800 graduate students are enrolled during the regular academic year. NCCU has two state-of-the-art biotechnology research facilities, the Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute (BBRI), and, The Golden Leaf Foundation Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE), which collaborate with pharmacy and biotech companies in nearby Research Triangle Park. NCCU’s campus is located in the heart of Durham and is known for its sloping hills and verdant greens. The home page for NCCU is found at


Students who have not enrolled in UNC-CH for the fall 2016 semester must pay a fee for use of the campus gyms and pools during the summer; we are currently negotiating this fee with the university. Information about how to pay for gym privileges will be available during your first week in Chapel Hill. If you do not want to use the gym you can still participate in pick-up games at the various athletic fields around campus.


Lisa Phillippie (pay checks, parking permits, dorm questions
120 Mason Farm Road Genetic Medicine Bldg, Suite 3010
Campus Box #7260
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7260
(919) 843-9737

Dr. Tope Keku

7340-C Medical Biomolecular Research Building
University of North Carolina, CB # 7032
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7032
Tel: 919-966-5828 (Office)

Dr. Wendy Heck-Grillo

2255 Mary Townes Science Complex (MTSC)
1801 Fayetteville Street Durham, NC 27707
(919) 530-7063