The NIH IMSD Graduate Fellows Program has had a dramatic impact on PhD-level training of Underrepresented Minorities (URM) at UMBC. Since its inception in 1997, URM participation in supported departments (biology, chemistry, biochemistry, chemical/mechanical engineering, human services psychology, and physics) has increased from 0%, 1%, 0%, 1%, 8%, and 0%, respectively, to 14%, 15%, 28%, 10%, 13%, and 7%, respectively. Expansion to the Graduate Program in Life Science (GPILS) at our sister campus, the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB), in 2007 triggered a dramatic 50% increase in URM GPILS enrollment at UMB over the past 4 years. IMSD enrollment has increased linearly since 1997, with 66 PhD students currently enrolled in the combined UMBC/UMB IMSD Program (47 African American, 13 Hispanic, 1 Native American, 1 Pacific Islander, 4 non-URM (1 Caucasian, 3 women of Middle Eastern descent)). Retention (91% in the current funding period) has reached an all-time high, and URM PhD production has increased dramatically, from 6 URM PhD degrees awarded over the 15 years preceding IMSD to 46 PhDs awarded to IMSD Fellows since our first IMSD Fellow graduated in 2001 (a 10 year period). Of the 46 graduates, 32 (70%) matriculated directly to Postdoctoral or Residency positions. Although nearly all of the quantitative objectives of the current support period have been met, significant challenges remain. In particular, although 10 of the 13 IMSD graduates that have completed postdoctoral training obtained research- related positions in government or industry, only 2 matriculated to full time faculty positions (both currently non- tenure track). Seven additional graduates who are fully employed hold adjunct, non-tenure track college faculty or teaching positions. Since URM colleagues in full time faculty positions are likely to have the broadest impact as mentors and role models, we clearly must do a better job of preparing our IMSD graduates for pressures that are negatively impacting their interest in the Academy. We must particularly address negative pressures related to recent NIH findings that URMs are less likely to successfully compete for NIH funding compared to equally-prepared Caucasian colleagues. We now propose modifications to our IMSD Fellows Program that will better prepare interested IMSD Fellows for academic careers - a major national need. Objectives include: (1) continued linear growth in IMSD enrollment while maintaining high retention rate, (2) increasing URM enrollment in departments where URM growth has lagged, (3) implementation of new inner city high school outreach components, to enhance the early pipeline, (4) implementation of new grantsmanship elements, to better prepare students and boost confidence, (5) establishment of one-on-one mentor partnerships with external URM faculty, to facilitate mentoring and support beyond the PhD Program, and (6) implementation of an inter-institutional IMSD speaker exchange program, to increase exposure of senior Fellows and help match them with highly active research scientists at supportive institutions.

Public Health Relevance

The overall goal of the IMSD Graduate Fellows Program at UMBC is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the biomedical and behavioral sciences who earn PhD degrees and obtain leadership and research positions in academics, government, and industry. Our proposed program is anticipated to grow to ~ 80 supported IMSD Fellows per year and produce at least 15 URM PhD graduates annually. New components should enable the graduates to compete more effectively for federal research grants, to make informed postdoctoral choices, and to more confidently pursue leadership positions in industry, government, and academics.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Minority Programs Review Subcommittee B (MPRC)
Program Officer
Janes, Daniel E
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Maryland Balt CO Campus
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Wadajkar, Aniket S; Dancy, Jimena G; Roberts, Nathan B et al. (2017) Decreased non-specific adhesivity, receptor targeted (DART) nanoparticles exhibit improved dispersion, cellular uptake, and tumor retention in invasive gliomas. J Control Release 267:144-153
Leonard, M Kathryn; Pamidimukkala, Nidhi; Puts, Gemma S et al. (2017) The HGF/SF Mouse Model of UV-Induced Melanoma as an In Vivo Sensor for Metastasis-Regulating Gene. Int J Mol Sci 18:
Nelson, Cassandra E; Rogowski, Artur; Morland, Carl et al. (2017) Systems analysis in Cellvibrio japonicus resolves predicted redundancy of ?-glucosidases and determines essential physiological functions. Mol Microbiol 104:294-305
Kohnhorst, Casey L; Kyoung, Minjoung; Jeon, Miji et al. (2017) Identification of a multienzyme complex for glucose metabolism in living cells. J Biol Chem 292:9191-9203
Buo, Atum M; Tomlinson, Ryan E; Eidelman, Eric R et al. (2017) Connexin43 and Runx2 Interact to Affect Cortical Bone Geometry, Skeletal Development, and Osteoblast and Osteoclast Function. J Bone Miner Res 32:1727-1738
Kaczanowska, Sabina; Joseph, Ann Mary; Guo, Jitao et al. (2017) A Synthetic CD8?:MyD88 Coreceptor Enhances CD8+ T-cell Responses to Weakly Immunogenic and Lowly Expressed Tumor Antigens. Cancer Res 77:7049-7058
Emmanuel, B; Shardell, M D; Tracy, L et al. (2017) Racial disparity in all-cause mortality among hepatitis C virus-infected individuals in a general US population, NHANES III. J Viral Hepat 24:380-388
Senbanjo, Linda T; Chellaiah, Meenakshi A (2017) CD44: A Multifunctional Cell Surface Adhesion Receptor Is a Regulator of Progression and Metastasis of Cancer Cells. Front Cell Dev Biol 5:18
Hernández-Ochoa, Erick O; Banks, Quinton; Schneider, Martin F (2017) Acute Elevated Glucose Promotes Abnormal Action Potential-Induced Ca2+ Transients in Cultured Skeletal Muscle Fibers. J Diabetes Res 2017:1509048
Chandra, Ramesh; Engeln, Michel; Schiefer, Christopher et al. (2017) Drp1 Mitochondrial Fission in D1 Neurons Mediates Behavioral and Cellular Plasticity during Early Cocaine Abstinence. Neuron 96:1327-1341.e6

Showing the most recent 10 out of 169 publications