Cancer Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU)

Through the University of Colorado Cancer Center's Cancer Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU), every summer 23 college undergraduate students are given the opportunity to spend ten weeks in our laboratories at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. CREU is supported by R25CA240122 and the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

The goal of the program is to engage scientific curiosity in the next generation of scientists, challenging qualified college undergraduates to consider a cancer-related career in the future.

An additional 4 under-represented minority students will be selected to be funded through the American Cancer Society Diversity in Cancer Research mechanism. The application process is the same for either mechanism.

Program Dates: June 1 - August 4, 2023.

CREU Mentors

When you apply to be a CREU student, you will select four mentors you would like to work with during your fellowship and note them on your application. We make every effort to assign you to your first choice, but we may need to make alternative assignments based on mentor availability.

Projects are located on the Anschutz Medical Campus unless otherwise noted. (Our program takes place on the Anschutz Medical Campus, but we also have mentors in Boulder and Fort Collins.)

Click on mentors' names in the lists below to see example* project descriptions and other information. *Projects are subject to change at anytime. They are likely representative of what that person’s lab is doing, but not the actual project you will be performing.


Meet Our Past CREU Fellows


Following through on a childhood commitment to cancer research

When Arushi Raval was 12, her childhood friend, Kuhu Basak, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Surgeons were able to remove 30 percent of Basak’s tumor. This was followed by six weeks of proton radiation therapy, but the tumor grew back. She has gone through multiple types of chemotherapy for eight years, and she needs to stay on her current medication to keep the tumor stable. When her friend was diagnosed, Raval knew right away that she wanted to get involved in cancer research. Now, Raval and Basak are college roommates at University of Colorado Boulder, and this summer, Arushi has the chance to conduct her own research in the field of pediatric cancer research.

“It is because of her that I am interested in researching childhood cancer. I am excited to be a part of a lab that is making a difference and actively searching for more effective ways drugs can be used in cancer treatment,” Raval says.

→ Read Raval's Full Story Here.

Student Fellowships Funded by Local Businessman

Two students on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus this summer had a lot in common. Monica Brown and Madison Weber wrapped up work in the Cancer Research Summer Fellowship Program. Both also are college undergraduates who focused on colon cancer research. Both of their fellowships also were funded by a man who lost his father to colon cancer years ago.

The Cancer Research Summer Fellowship Program is sponsored by the University of Colorado Cancer Center. The program gives dozens of college undergraduates and more advanced high school students the opportunity to spend ten weeks conducting cancer research.

→ Read Full Story Here.

Matt Svalina, PhD, and Marlie Fisher, PhD, with their daughter Navi on Match Day 2023.

An Unexpected Love Story that Began in the Cadaver Lab

Marlie Fisher, PhD, and Matt Svalina, PhD, met in the early days of their MD/PhD program, and will graduate together and begin residencies in the CU School of Medicine.

Not many love stories begin in the cadaver lab at 4 a.m., but this one does. Marlie Fisher, PhD, and Matt Svalina, PhD, had just started their MD/PhD program in the University of Colorado School of Medicine and were learning, in those first several months, that something would have to give if they were going to balance graduate core courses with human anatomy lab.

What gave was sleep. Matt announced to their small cohort of nine MD/PhD students, “I’m going to anatomy lab at 4 a.m., who’s joining me?” Marlie was the only one who did.

→ Read Marlie Fisher's Story Here.