The overall goal of the undergraduate and graduate components of our IMSD program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority (URM) students earning PhDs in biomedical sciences. At the undergraduate level, we have focused on activities designed to enable students to excel in foundation courses (chemistry, calculus, and biology);to graduate in biology with GPAs >3.0;and to enter biomedical science PhD programs following graduation. For freshmen and sophomores we developed a structured program of supplemental course work in chemistry and math, a lab skills course, personal and academic advising, and a two quarter requirement for engagement in faculty-mentored research [our Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP)]. For selected juniors and seniors (BUSP Honors), we provided opportunities for significant engagement in research projects that take full advantage of the facilities and expertise on the campus. These activities have resulted in increased numbers of BUSP URM students earning a B.S. in biology with a GPA >3.0 (currently in the range of 45-48%) and an average of ~36% of the BUSP Honors students pursuing a biomedical science PhD. In this renewal, our primary goal for the IMSD-supported BUSP/BUSP Honors students is to increase to at least 60%, the number of them who pursue a PhD. To achieve this goal, we propose to expand the pool from which we select the IMSD-funded BUSP students and to provide new program activities designed to engender in students a deeper understanding of research careers and how to get there. The latter will include field trips to visit research labs and meet faculty and graduate students at other research universities;seminars at which URM faculty will speak about their research;discussions with BUSP alums who are pursuing or have completed PhD programs;and discussions with URM senior graduate students who entered Davis as IMSD Graduate Fellows. For the graduate program, our specific aims are to maintain the high success of the IMSD Fellows in advancing to candidacy, reduce the percentage of students who leave the program without earning their PhD from the current 12.5% to less than 10% through more focused mentoring, and use the success of increase the overall acceptance rate of URM students into the 13 participating graduate programs from the current 12.5% to 18% over the next four years.
The goal of our proposal is to increase the diversity of students pursuing a PhD in biomedical sciences and entering a research career. To achieve this goal, we have developed a coordinated series of enrichment and advising activities for underrepresented undergraduates in biological sciences and a series of professional development activities to enhance the skills of underrepresented first year PhD students in biomedical areas.
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