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With support from the Beckman Laser Institute Foundation, the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, and the BTC


OPALS 2023 is closed. Thank you for your interest. Application for OPALS 2024 will be open on Winter 2024.


Highlight of the 2023 OPALS Program


Click here to see Activities and Researches from Class of 2023 OPALS Students

Chief Scientists

Chief Scientists


Veronica Gomez

Institute of Engineering in Medicine, UCSD


Linda Shi

Institute of Engineering in Medicine, UCSD


Chengbiao Wu

Department of Neurosciences, UCSD


Program Faculty

Program Faculty


Kevin King

Department of Bioengineering & Department of Cardiology, UCSD


Zhaowei Liu

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, UCSD


Daniel Ju

Department of Ophthalmology, Hamilton Glaucoma Center and Shiley Eye Institute, UCSD


Wallace Marshall

Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, UCSF


Joseph D. Powers

Department of Lab Medicine & Pathology & Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington


Xiaohua Wu

Department of Molecular Medicine, Scripps Research


Daryl Preese

Department of Biomedical Engineering, UCI


Arthur Forer

Department of Biology, York University


Management Team

Management Team


Andrew D. McCulloch

Director, Institute of Engineering in Medicine, UCSD


Philip Godfrey

Management Services Officer, Institute of Engineering in Medicine, UCSD


Justina Houston

Administrative Assistant, Institute of Engineering in Medicine, UCSD


Tom Liu

OPALS Program Coordinator, Institute of Engineering in Medicine, UCSD


Mentor Team

Mentor Team


Katelyn Lee

School of Biological Sciences - Biology, UCSD


Anai De La Rosa

School of Biological Sciences - Biology, UCSD


Iman Malhi

School of Physical Sciences - Physics, UCSD


Advit Gupta

School of Biological Sciences - Biology, UCSD


Sze-Sze Chan

School of Biological Sciences - Neurobiology, UCSD


Mimi Tanglertsampan

Jacobs School of Engineering - Nanoengineering, UCSD


Ethan Chen

School of Biological Sciences - Molecular and Cell Biology, UCSD


Sriram Selvakumaran

School of Biological Sciences - Biology, UCSD


Timothy Guo

School of Biological Sciences - Biology, UCSD


Max Weng

Jacobs School of Engineering - Computer Science, UCSD

Engineering in Medicine Internships for High School Students



The IEM OPALS high school internship program aims to provide pre-college students with hands-on experience in STEM by spending 20 hours per week for six weeks at UC San Diego in a research laboratory environment. Each intern will have the opportunity to interact with researchers, graduate, and undergraduate students engaged in research at the interfaces of engineering and medical science, such as engineering for cancer diagnosis and therapy, biophotonics research, and cardiovascular imaging. Interns will learn the scientific background to the research, observe or assist UC San Diego researchers and students in performing experiments, learn to analyze experimental data and present a research talk or poster at the end of the internship.


  • Intensive program in STEM fields.
  • Structured research skills training and laboratory exposure
  • Introduces the experimental basis of biological & engineering aspects of STEM fields, focusing on basic concepts of college level projects, experimental design, data collection and analysis
  • Fusing weekly professional sharing, career talks, major selections, hands-on experiments, and small group discussions into ongoing research topics, students gain insight into the core of scientific research
  • Guest Lectures: Invited speakers including professors (in neuroscience, human biology, biochemistry, vascular tissue engineering, biomedical engineering), professionals (with degrees in MD, DO, PT, PA, and JD), as well as graduate students and previous interns.
  • Laboratory visits: in Schools of Biology, Chemistry & Engineering.

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Dates and Deadlines



Feb 1st, 2023: Applications open

Mar 10th, 2023: Applications close

Mar 11th, 2023: Interviews start

Apr 5th, 2023: Notification of Acceptance

Apr 30th, 2023: Acceptance and Deposit Deadline

Jun 26th, 2023: OPALS Opening Day

Aug 4th, 2023: OPALS Closing Day



  1. (Optional) Scholarship & Financial Aid *
  2. If you have any questions or concerns, contact

* Applications for Scholarship & Financial Aid are closed.


Lab Visits

Hands-on Experiments

Outings/ Activities

Weekly Schedule

Video Clips



  • 6 weeks program 
    • 6 weeks in-person
      • Monday - Friday, 10 am to 3 pm
    • Interns will participate in college-level projects, including damage mechanisms of two neurodegenerative diseases: Charcot Marie Tooth Disease Type 2B and Huntington’s Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, Early Stage Cancer Detection, and Glaucoma
    • For interns with other commitments, we offer 2 weeks in-person & 4 weeks of remote
  • In-person may be converted to remote subject to school COVID-19 guidelines

Qualified applicants

  • Current 8 - 11th graders with curiosity and enthusiasm for STEM
  • Local residents preferred, no room and board provided for applicants from other county&states
  • Students under 16 years old need to follow the Minors in laboratories from UCSD


  • Participation fee: $1000
  • Application fee: $40 (Non-Refundable, required for ALL applicants)
  • The program is unable to provide housing or transportation
  • Students in financial need may apply for fee waiver and transportation support
  • Students should bring their own lunch or money to purchase lunch on campus. A campus dining card will be available to students from food insecure households
  • Voluntary donations to the IEM OPALS program to defray program costs (of approximately $1000 per intern) are gratefully accepted. However, please note that donations will have no influence on acceptance to the program.


  • Applications from underrepresented, socio-economically disadvantaged, and disabled students are encouraged
  • A Letter of Recommendation will be requested directly from the provider by OPALS Team once the applicant finishes their application form (Accepting until April 1st)
  • Since slots are limited, we may not be able to accommodate all applicants. Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions via email starting from April 5th, 2023. No more applications accepted after March 10th, 2023.


  • Programming in MATLAB
  • Engineering analysis of biomedical experimental data
  • What you need to know about applying to college
  • Special talks from researchers and students about their journeys in STEM
  • Laboratory safety