The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

Student Outreach Programs

The Koch Institute is committed to fostering an interest in science and engineering in young people. As part of this mission, we invite groups of middle and high school students to visit our facilities, meet researchers who work every day to solve the cancer problem, and learn interactively about the science and technology of cancer research.

SPRING 2020 UPDATE: Due to physical distancing measures on the MIT campus, in-person field trips are temporarily suspended until at least September 2020. At this time, we do not have the capacity to host virtual tours or hands-on activities; however, we are happy to connect interested groups with Koch Institute researchers for remote learning experiences. Please email requests to and be sure to include the number and grade level of students along with the desired date(s). For online resources from MIT's wider K12 community, check out Full STEAM Ahead.

The information below applies to pre-2020 programs, and will be updated once more is known about the current safety guidelines for on campus programs.

Koch Institute outreach programs last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the activities chosen, and are generally open to groups of up to 10-50 students at a time. The standard program for middle and high school students begins with an introductory discussion "What is Cancer?" and can be customized to include:

Tours & Talks

  • Guided tours of the educational exhibits in the Koch Institute Public Galleries
  • Tours of Koch Institute laboratories led by cancer researchers (for students ages 12 and older, subject to researcher availability)
  • Facility floor tour featuring research highlights from selected laboratories (available when lab tours are not available)
  • Presentations by Koch Institute graduate students, technicians, postdocs, and undergrads (subject to researcher availability)
  • Career panel/discussion with Koch Institute graduate students, technicians, postdocs, and undergrads (high school students and older, subject to researcher availability)
  • Exploration of the five focus areas of cancer research at MIT
  • Informal conversation with a Koch Institute researcher (subject to researcher avaiability)

Hands-on activities

  • How can seaweed help treat cancer? (alginate beads & targeted drug delivery) - middle & high school
  • The Fault in our Cells (exploring tumor heterogeneity & chemotherapy resistance) - best suited for high school (learn more)
  • What does a cell weigh? (exploring engineering and math) - best suited for middle school students
  • What does cancer look like? (examining cancer cells under a microscope) - middle & high school

What else?

In addition to the customizable programs for middle and high school students described above, we also offer the following:

  • Cancer research mini-course (What is cancer? What does it look like? How do we treat it?) - middle & high school
  • Kinesthetic re-enactments of cutting-edge cancer treatments - ideal for larger groups, weather permitting (see example)
  • Elementary program (microscope slides/strawberry DNA & alginate beads) - especially for students in grades 4-5
  • NEW! Meet a cancer researcher and take a tour of the KI Public Galleries - subject to researcher availability

Visits to the Koch Institute can optionally be paired with other activities at MIT, including hands-on workshops at the MIT Museum. In particular, we recommend:

  • LEGO DNA workshops developed by the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences: Students use interactive tools, videos and unique LEGO DNA Kits to obtain an intuitive understanding of how DNA directs the assembly of proteins and how environmental agents can affect DNA and human health.
  • Visualizing Science: Students use hands-on inquiry and observation techniques to make connections between microscopic explorations of size, scale, and structure and a variety of nanoscience and technology projects at MIT, including work by the Koch Institute's own cancer researchers.
  • Illuminating Protein Expression: Explore the molecular machines that build the proteins we need everyday. In this workshop students will carry out their own experiments to create green fluorescent protein, while learning about the relationships between DNA, proteins, and even light.

Please book MIT Museum workshops directly through the MIT Museum (link).

To schedule an educational program at the Koch Institute or to request additional information, please contact us at Our capacity is limited, so we recommend reaching out early to reserve a spot. Please note that we cannot assist in arranging MIT campus tours or information sessions. Student-focused gallery activity guides are available upon request for those groups exploring the KI Public Galleries exhibits on their own.

Workshop Pricing

Program Description Length of Program # of Participants Service Charge
Standard program (choose from activities above, note age limit on laboratory tours) 60-90 minutes up to 25 $150
1-5 additional participants (maximum 50)     $25
Tour of the Koch Institute Public Galleries & conversation with a cancer researcher 45-60 minutes up to 20 $100
1-5 additional participants (maximum 35)     $15
Cancer Research Short Course 1.5-2 hours up to 25 $200
1-5 additional participants (maximum 30)     $25
Workshop for grades 4-5 60-90 minutes up to 25 $100
1-5 additional participants (maximum 30)     $25
Self-guided visit of the KI Public Galleries 30-45 minutes up to 25 no charge

The Koch Institute has limited funding available to support field trip visits for local public schools and community organizations with demonstrable financial need (Title 1, free/reduced lunch, etc.) and history of serving populations underrepresented in STEM. To access these rates, please email with a description of the group, the need, and how the visit fits in with the organization's mission and/or curriculum. All requests will be confidentially reviewed and you will be notified of the appropriate charge for your visit.

Other Logistics

Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance. Program hours are typically Monday through Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm. We are closed on all MIT holidays. All groups must be accompanied by chaperones (see ratios below) that must stay with the group during the entire visit.

  • Grades 4-8: 1 chaperone for every 8 students
  • Grades 9-12: 1 chaperone for every 10 students
  • College: 1 chaperone per group or for every 12 students if lab tours are requested 

Pricing Overview

FREE for local public schools and non-profit community organizations.

Standard (grades 6-12) - $150
Talk & Tour (grades 6-12) - $100
Short Course (grades 6-12) - $200
Elementary (grades 4-6) - $100

See main text for details. Reduced cost programming is availble for groups with demonstrated need.