Alfaisal Scholar Program in Research Excellence

Basic Research Track

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ASPiRE Overview

The Alfaisal Scholar Program in Research Excellence (ASPiRE) is an in-house sister program of the Summer Program for International Research Internship and Training (SPIRIT) that offers healthcare professionals a unique and immersive experience in basic and clinical research. The ASPiRE program contributes to Alfaisal University College of Medicine's vision in preparing physicians who actively contribute to medical research. The ASPiRE 2021 program will accommodate about 100 participants in both basic and clinical research tracks.

Basic Research Track

The ASPiRE BRT program offers qualified Alfaisal undergraduate medical students the opportunity to train in basic research and become members of research teams. Each week of the ASPiRE BRT program focuses on a specific theme within biomedical research that allows students to discover first-hand the broad spectrum of research activities. The themes covered under the program are as follows:

  • Oncology

  • Neuroscience

  • Developmental Biology

  • Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

  • Immunology

  • Metabolic Disorders and Diabetes

Program Outline

Topics covered during the program include:

  • Week 1: Primary cell culture, Immortalized cell lines, 3-D cell cultures, Animal models, genetically modified animal models, bacterial cultures, and viral cultures. 

  • Week 2: RNA extraction methods, Semiquantitative RT-PCR, Quantitative RT-PCR, and Northern Blotting, Microarrays and SAGE      

  • Week 3: Protein extraction and quantification, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, ELISA, Mass spectrometry        

  • Week 4: Transfections, transformation, cloning, protein expression     

  • Week 5: RNA silencing and gene editing using CAS-9        

  • Week 6: DNA extraction and quantification, PCR, Southern blotting  

  • Week 7: Restriction fragment length polymorphism, Sanger sequencing, and next-generation sequencing.

Some of the practical hands-on laboratory sessions include:

  • Lab safety, pipetting techniques, and buffer preparation        

  • Cell culture, trypsinization, cell seeding, counting, and freezing        

  • Extraction and quantification of DNA and RNA         

  • PCR and gel electrophoresis        

  • Protein extraction and quantification, and SDS gel        

  • Western Blotting

ASPiRE Poster Day

During the final week of the program, students will design and present their research proposals during the ASPiRE Poster Day. Best poster presentations will be awarded during the event.

ASPiRE Research Grants 

Students will also have the opportunity to submit their proposals and compete for research grants towards the end of the program. Best proposals will be awarded funding for the project.

Program Dates

The dates for the ASPiRE 2021 program are Sunday, June 20, 2021, to Thursday, August 19, 2021.

Program Duration

The ASPiRE BRT program is an 8-week immersive experience in a laboratory setting within the campus of Alfaisal University. You are expected to be present for the entire duration of the program (excluding the Eid Break).

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must fulfill the following eligibility criteria to be considered as “eligible” applicants:

  1. Have no scheduled College of Medicine (CoM) summer courses for the duration of the program.

  2. Have no record of misconduct with the university or during any national or international programs organized by the Medical Student Association (MSA) or the CoM.

Application Deadline

The deadline for submitting your complete application is Wednesday, June 16, 2021, @ 4 PM

Application Requirements

An online application form is required to be submitted that contains questions to assess your preparedness for the ASPiRE BRT program. Additional requirements include the following:

  • Personal statement - Please provide a brief statement (about 300 words) stating your interest in the program and how does it assist you in fulfilling your career goals.

  • Latest resume

  • Copy of your latest academic transcript (Spring 2020-2021) from NetClassroom

The above documents can be submitted through the same online application form.

Application Form

Applications to the ASPiRE BRT program are closed, however, you can apply for the ASPiRE CRT program. Learn more about the ASPiRE CRT program here.

Application Review

All submitted applications will be reviewed immediately. Applicants will be notified about the status of their application as soon as possible.

Program Fee

ASPiRE BRT 2021 is a 100% scholarship program that is funded by the College of Medicine, Alfaisal University.

However, a confirmation fee of SAR 500 is required to be paid after acceptance into the program to confirm your participation. Details on payment will be shared along with the Letter of Acceptance. 


Contact Info

You are welcome to contact us at any time should you have questions.