Many talented minority students have the ability to do well in a biomedical science Ph. D. program, but either they do not have the necessary background or their credentials do not reflect their abilities. To provide deeper and longer exposure of bright, underrepresented minority students to biomedical science, the University of South Carolina established a PREP program that has increased the number of qualified URM applicants to biomedical Ph. D. programs by offering minority students the opportunity to work full-time in biomedical research laboratories while preparing for graduate school. To date 13 PREP scholars have been accepted into biomedical Ph. D. programs. The specific goals of the PREP program are: 1) To recruit qualified URs who have both a recent baccalaureate degree in a bio-medically relevant field and a strong commitment to obtaining entrance into a Ph. D. program in the biomedical sciences. 2) To improve research skills of PREP scholars through active laboratory participation in a mentored relationship with a faculty member and with graduate students/postdoctoral fellows. 3) To improve the analytical, English and quantitative skills of all scholars through hands on training, special course offerings, and participation in seminars and journal clubs so that all PREP scholars are competitive for acceptance to a well-respected graduate program as a doctoral student. 4) To help the scholars establish relationships among peers and faculty at USC and elsewhere in the research community so that the PREP scholar has well-defined career goals and a strong support network. 5) To help the PREP Scholars establish the credentials necessary for acceptance into a high quality biomedical science Ph. D. program. The goal of USC PREP is that at least 75% of the scholars will be accepted by such a program and that at least 80% will earn Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences.

Public Health Relevance

Minority groups are generally under-represented among scientists who are conducting biomedical research. However, research benefits from interactions among scientists with diverse perspectives. Therefore, increasing the pool of well-trained minority scientists will greatly benefit biomedical research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Minority Programs Review Committee (MPRC)
Program Officer
Bender, Michael T
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of South Carolina at Columbia
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Smith, Terika P; Schlenz, Alyssa M; Schatz, Jeffrey C et al. (2015) Modulation of pain in pediatric sickle cell disease: understanding the balance between endothelin mediated vasoconstriction and apelin mediated vasodilation. Blood Cells Mol Dis 54:155-9
Smith, Terika P; Smith, Sherika N; Sweitzer, Sarah M (2014) Endothelin-1 induced desensitization in primary afferent neurons. Neurosci Lett 582:59-64
Smith, Terika; Beasley, Sarah; Smith, Sherika et al. (2014) Endothelin-1-induced priming to capsaicin in young animals. Neurosci Lett 567:15-8
Callahan, Courtney; Fox, Karen; Fox, Alvin (2009) The small acid soluble proteins (SASP alpha and SASP beta) of Bacillus weihenstephanensis and Bacillus mycoides group 2 are the most distinct among the Bacillus cereus group. Mol Cell Probes :
McKelvy, Alvin D; Sweitzer, Sarah M (2009) Endothelin-1 exposure on postnatal day 7 alters expression of the endothelin B receptor and behavioral sensitivity to endothelin-1 on postnatal day 11. Neurosci Lett 451:89-93
McKelvy, Alvin D; Sweitzer, Sarah M (2009) Decreased opioid analgesia in weanling rats exposed to endothelin-1 during infancy. Neurosci Lett 466:144-8
McClellan, Catherine B; Schatz, Jeffrey C; Mark, Teresa R M et al. (2009) Criterion and convergent validity for 4 measures of pain in a pediatric sickle cell disease population. Clin J Pain 25:146-52
Obianyo, Obiamaka; Osborne, Tanesha C; Thompson, Paul R (2008) Kinetic mechanism of protein arginine methyltransferase 1. Biochemistry 47:10420-7
Osborne, Tanesha C; Obianyo, Obiamaka; Zhang, Xing et al. (2007) Protein arginine methyltransferase 1: positively charged residues in substrate peptides distal to the site of methylation are important for substrate binding and catalysis. Biochemistry 46:13370-81