Public programs

Spring Lecture Series for High School Students

A person gestures to a microscope image on a screen while students look on.

Since its inception in 1990, Whitehead’s Spring Lecture Series for High School Students has encouraged students to explore the facts behind the science headlines through exposure to cutting-edge topics in biomedical research. 

HS Student Program Logo

Cancer has long been one of the leading causes of death worldwide. According to a newly released report from the American Cancer Society, close to 2 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2023 and nearly 600,000 will die of the disease. Although this reflects a slight increase from last year's projections, the current numbers represent a continued decline in cancer deaths. The data reflects remarkable advances in medical research and cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, but much work remains to understand and effectively treat this complex collection of diseases.
Join us April 18-20, from from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day, for Whitehead Institute’s 2023 Spring Lecture Series for High School Students, What's Next? Breakthroughs in Cancer Research. During this three day program we will explore the novel research and development efforts that scientists are using to decipher and combat cancer.

The series includes hands-on activities, laboratory modules and discussions with pioneering scientists.

Registration has reached capacity and is now closed.

Upcoming Session

April 18-20, 2023


Registration has reached capacity and is now closed. We hope you think about joining us again next year.


Free! Whitehead Institute’s Spring Lecture Series for High School Students is free of charge for all accepted registrants.

What’s Provided

Professional science instructors, a professionally designed curriculum, lunch each day, and all lab materials necessary for a fun, educational, and memorable experience.

What is involved in participating in the spring lecture series for high school students?

The series, held annually during the Massachusetts public school spring vacation week, exposes students to cutting-edge topics in biomedical research. The series includes hands-on activities, laboratory modules and discussions with pioneering scientists.To participate, students must commit to attend all three days of the series.

Who can register for the lecture series?

Registration is open to students age 14 and over who are enrolled in grades 9-12 (NOTE: Eighth-grade students who meet the age requirement are not eligible to attend). Students are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. No more than 6 students from a single school may attend. Because space is limited, registrants are encouraged to apply early. Registration for the 2023 season will be capped at 30 students and is expected to fill within one hour of registration opening.

Completing an online application reserves a space only and does not guarantee admittance into the program. Once all applications have been reviewed students who have been accepted will receive a confirmation via email, including a parental consent form.

How many students participate in the series?

30 students will be accepted into the 2023 program.

Is there a fee to attend the series?

No. The series is free for all participating students.

What is the daily schedule?

9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day

More details coming soon!

Is lunch provided?

Yes. Lunch is provided for students each day during in-person instruction.

Is housing provided for students?

Because most attendees live in the greater Boston area, Whitehead Institute does not arrange for student housing. Out-of-state students or those wishing to stay nearby during the program may find accommodations within walking distance of Whitehead Institute at the Boston Marriott Cambridge and Kendall Hotel. As the program is held the same week as the Boston Marathon, we strongly recommend that hotel reservations be made as early as possible.

May parents attend or serve as chaperones?

While we appreciate their interest in the program, space constraints prevent us from allowing parents to take part.

What if I've registered but cannot attend?

Registration for the series represents a commitment to attend all three days of the program. Naturally, we understand that conflicts occasionally arise. We ask that registered students unable to participate contact us immediately so we may attempt to accommodate those on our waiting list.

Contact & Directions

For more information on the high school student program, please contact Amy Tremblay at or 617-258-7270.

The program is held at the Whitehead Building at 455 Main Street, which is accessible by public transportation. Metered street parking is available but limited. Hourly garage parking is also nearby.