The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) requests NIH/NIGMS support to continue its successful MBRS Minority Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program. The overall goal of the UTSA RISE program is to support and train underrepresented minority (URM) students so that they enter and succeed in premier biomedical doctoral programs, which is in accordance with the mission of the MBRS/MORE/NIGMS. The hypothesis to be tested is that successful implementation and execution of program specific aims will assist our URM MBRS-RISE students to progress to higher levels of training in biomedical research.
The Specific Aims are: 1) Revise and enhance the UTSA comprehensive graduate biomedical research training program to focus on URM doctoral students in Biology and extend to Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Physics;2) Revise and enhance current undergraduate program to focus exclusively on lower division undergraduate training for Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Physics majors;and 3) Conduct effective program evaluation and refinement. Professional, laboratory and personal development and support activities will continue at all levels. Further, new leadership and writing training will be implemented. The doctoral component will be refined to accommodate the additional majors, and training in grant writing will precede mandatory submission of dissertation proposals as federal grants. The successful undergraduate training component will be enhanced by providing a progressive introduction to research and the research lab for lower division students. Transitional and innovative Bootcamp activities at the rising sophomore level will provide the firm foundation in laboratory techniques prior to them joining a laboratory. These students will continue in mentored intramural research through their sophomore year, after which they will transition into our successful MARC-U*STAR research training program. Program evaluation will be continued and refined for all activities, with an additional focus on developing effective selection criteria for freshmen who will persist in research training in the MARC-U*STAR program. This proposal is innovative because it provides a holistic approach to training students by combining academic, research, leadership, and personal development activities that will help them to develop self-confidence, career path awareness, networking skills, and research proficiency. Overall, the UTSA MBRS-RISE program is dedicated to accomplishing the long term goal of increasing the number of URM students acquiring advanced degrees in the biomedical sciences, which will allow them to advance to competitive postdoctoral positions and launch rewarding careers in biomedical research. Project Narrative: Advances in public health are preceded by breakthroughs in scientific research. Providing funding for training for researchers, and recruiting younger students, who will pursue research as a career, is a direct investment in future medical advances. Training underrepresented minorities in research is particularly critical, as these students may pursue research that will address diseases that disproportionately affect minority populations, including diabetes and high blood pressure.
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