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Program Info & Eligibility

The Lucas Scholar Fellowship (LSF) was named to honor Carol Lucas, a former chair of the BME department at UNC. The LSF is an intensive independent research program for outstanding students in Biomedical Engineering. One goal of this program is to encourage interaction between UNC and NC State through undergraduate research. Undergraduate candidates can apply from either UNC or NC State. Scholars work over the spring, summer and fall semesters (see timeline schematic below). In the fall, candidates apply for the fellowship and, if selected, meet with their mentor, identify a research project and apply for BME/BMME 295 for the spring semester. In the spring, the scholars formalize their research project and apply for a UNC Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). They become familiar with lab techniques, background research and other important aspects of the research project. In the summer, the candidates are given a stipend funded by the LSF and matching funds from the mentor to work full-time over on their research and apply for BME/BMME 495 for fall. In the second fall of the program, Scholars complete the project, write up results and present their work to receive BME 498/BMME 495 credit. Since the spring of 2011, 14 NC State students and 11 UNC students have participated in the program.

How to apply

Application Deadline: October 27, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. EST

1) Identify 2-3 faculty members from the ‘Contributing Mentors’ list below that you are interested in working with. To ensure the best match of students and mentors, please rank your mentor choice in the application.

2) Have a BME faculty member nominate you for the Lucas Scholar Fellowship. Faculty at UNC and NCSU may nominate students from either campus by emailing one concise paragraph describing the merits as to why you should be considered a competitive candidate for the Lucas Scholar Fellowship. Email nomination here.

3) Download, fill out the application, and send it to Dr. Brian Diekman at and Dr. Scott Magness at

4) Questions? email Dr. Brian Diekman at and Dr. Scott Magness at

Mentors 2023-2024


Ryen Ormesher

“The Lucas Scholarship Program has given me the invaluable opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge research in my field while still contributing to the biomedical sciences. As undergraduate student research, I had the chance to work with other students on novel research that had real-world medical applications. I worked with a diverse group of students on new ultrasound image processing techniques. Completing the summer research gave me the chance to explore applications of biomedical engineering, contribute to an ongoing medical study and exposed me to new fields in medicine.”

Nathan Beaumont

“Working in Dr. Allbritton’s lab was an insightful and invaluable experience. As someone continuing biomedical research into the future, working in such an extraordinarily helpful lab has taught me the nuances of conducting useful and quality research. The Lucas Scholarship was not only able to support my own scientific exploration but has connected me with like-minded researchers who may be collaborators someday. I’m excited by the discoveries I’ve made over the summer, and I’m eager to be presenting them to the scientific community. I won’t be able to forget the connections and experiences I’ve made in the program, and will be thinking back on them far into my future.”

Noam Sheetrit
“The Lucas Scholarship has given me a true opportunity to explore the intersection of engineering and biology. During my research experience as a Lucas Scholar in the Magness lab, I was pushed to develop critical research skills in tissue engineering that I would have never developed in a classroom or internship. I collaborated with different researchers in different labs, learned new techniques, was exposed to a vast array of biotechnology and delved deep into the scientific method. The skills and experiences I obtained will be carried with me throughout the entirety of my future career.”

Lindsey Wells

“This summer, I was granted the experience to develop my professional skill set while working under experts leading the field in biological innovation through the Lucas Scholar program. I gained a new appreciation for my ability to work and think independently while contributing to the greater goal of advancing chromatin-based therapeutics. My team in the Dayton and Pattenden labs instilled in me the confidence to function as a competent biomedical engineer by allowing me creative license in solving unique problems. This skill will prove invaluable in the future as I move forward to pursue a professional degree. Ultimately the Lucas Scholarship afforded me the opportunity to build on the fundamental skills that I had acquired in the first three years of my collegiate education and propelled me forward in my endeavors to apply these skills to the advancement of science and medicine.”

Franklin Blum

“I feel so fortunate to have been supported in exploring the incredible ways in which engineering principles can be combined with biological systems to solve medical challenges. I learned so much in my research experience as a Lucas Scholar this past summer. Conducting innovative research in the Gomez lab to explore kinase-inhibitor drug therapies in breast cancer allowed me to develop and apply a technical skill set to solve a pressing medical need, which allowed me to experience the incredible reward found in utilizing the power of science and engineering to solve medical problems. Inspired by this experience, I am committed to conducting research in the future, in medical school and beyond.”

Hope Piercy

“The Lucas scholarship was a very valuable experience, and I am very honored to have been given this opportunity. Through the Lucas Scholarship, I was able to meet and work with amazing people that I would not have met otherwise. In addition, the Lucas scholarship was a tremendous learning opportunity, as it allowed me to learn about and be a part of the incredible work being done in the Dayton Lab. I am very grateful to have been able to be a part of this wonderful program.”

Mike Lebhar

“I have gained significant experience in clinical research and learned the importance of scientific discovery working as an undergraduate BME researcher in Dr. Allbritton’s lab through the Lucas scholarship. As I continue my education to medical school, I’m excited and passionate to pursue new research projects and bring innovation to patient care.”