Gensemer Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Intern Program (HIP)

What is hEDS? Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), one of the 14 subtypes of EDS, is an inherited connective tissue disease that causes joint hypermobility, subluxations and dislocations as well as gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and immunological comorbidities. Our lab is interested in the genetic causes of hEDS, the progression and underlying biology of the disease and ways to accurately diagnose and treat hEDS. 

We need Patient-Scientists. In 2018, Cortney Gensemer was a first-year PhD student in the Norris Lab interested in studying hEDS because of the impact it had on her life as a patient. She helped to transform the lab into one of the world's largest groups studying hEDS. When it comes to complex diseases, patients often are the true experts. The lived patient experience leads to important clinical and biological questions. When that is paired with the scientific tools to answer them, patients can make an impact on the entire community.

The Gensemer hEDS Intern Program (HIP) The Norris lab is launching the 3rd year of the Gensemer hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) summer research internship program on the campus of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The purpose of the “HIP” program is to increase the critical mass of researchers studying hEDS and empower patients with hEDS/HSD to be a part of the change. By doing so, we envision the acceleration of new discoveries that will better help researchers and clinicians understand the causes of hEDS to guide therapeutic discoveries. The program is meant for students (either college or graduate students) who have EDS OR HSD to work on their own disease. During this 10-week program, eligible students will enhance specific skills that are required for success in subsequent post-graduate specialties including MD, PhD, MD/PhD, nursing, advocacy, OT/PT or other areas of healthcare and outreach. MUSC and the Norris lab offer this valuable opportunity to academically talented and motivated students who confirm a strong interest in post-baccalaureate studies with a goal of contributing to hEDS/HSD  healthcare, education, advocacy or research in the future.

The 10-Week Summer Program Includes:

One-on-One Mentorship: HIP students work one-on-one with current graduate students, or post-docs in the lab.

Individual Projects: All students get to choose an individual project for the summer on a topic related to hEDS that is important to them.

Journal Club & Seminars: Students will participate in an hEDS journal club, attend lectures from leading experts in the field and present their project at the end of summer symposium.

Clinical Shadowing: Students have the opportunity to shadow physicians and observe surgery performed by EDS experts.

Networking: Students will be able to network with others in the field and become part of hEDS Intern Alumni network.

Applications for the Summer 2023 HIP program will open on November 11, 2022 and close on February 28, 2023. 

The 2023 program will run from May 22, 2023 - July 28, 2023. 

Questions regarding the HIP program can be directed to Julianna Weninger at

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants should:

●Be able to complete the entire 10 weeks of the program. (May 22, 2023 – July 28, 2023)

●Have prior research experience and a GPA of 3.0 or higher is preferred

● Have a diagnosis of Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) or Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD)

●Currently reside in or attend college in the United States

● Be committed to a career studying, treating, educating, or advocating for hEDS or HSD

Financial Support and Housing

HIP participants will receive a living allowance of of $5,000 for the entire 10-week program to help pay for expenses while participating. (Please note: this living allowance may not be tax-free, and taxes will be deducted if required.)

Students accepted into the program that reside outside of the greater Charleston Area, convenient housing will be offered at 106 St Philip Street Charleston, SC 29424. You can review this housing at: Floor plans offered to our HIP program are 4 bedroom suites. Each student has their own bedroom and the common areas are shared by their suitemates.  Other alternatives are available as well and accepted students will engage with the Norris lab or Dept of Regenerative Medicine administrative staff to set up housing as needed. Students taking advantage of this housing will receive a housing allowance not to exceed $3,750.

How to Apply:

HIP applications are being accepted November 10, 2022 – February 28, 2023. The application must be submitted through this link:

For the application you will need:

HIP 2023 Program Information.pdf

2023 HIP Interns

Maggie Osterhaus

Brigham Young University

Shaina Butler

College of Mount Saint Vincent 

Anna Riordan

Muhlenberg College

Emily Fleck

Georgia Institute of Technology

Jillian Schnaudigel

Bucknell University

2022 HIP Interns

Elsie Devey

Columbia University 

Christina Hastings

Emory University 

Victoria Daylor

Columbia University

Emily Oberlies

Touro University-Nevada

Ella Zientara

Occidental College

2021 HIP Interns

Katherine Singleton

Clemson University Class of 2023

Sofia Luzbetak

University of California San Diego Class of 2023 

Roman Fenner

Davidson College Class of 2022

Deatra Bear

University of Colorado Denver Class of 2023