The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a comprehensive research university and medical complex with $192 million of NIH-funded research. UAB has a strong commitment to training undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented minorities and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. UAB has established and supported several programs to help these students meet their educational and career goals. What UAB currently lacks is a means to provide opportunity to potential graduate students who make a decision to pursue doctoral education late in their undergraduate career. These students may have already attained their baccalaureate degrees, but do not have the credentials for entry into top biomedical graduate programs where prior research experience and high standardized test scores are essential criteria for admittance. We have identified several potential pools from which to recruit such students: 1) Minority students who apply to one of our biomedical doctoral programs, but who are not offered admission due to low GRE scores or no research experience (about 30 per year) 2) Alabama undergraduate students who participate in programs aimed at STEM disciplines (Alabama Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation students;700-800 per year) 3) Graduates in Chemistry and Biology from institutions throughout Alabama. Our proposed PREP program will provide opportunities to those students who need to strengthen their credentials for entry into doctoral education. Our overall goal is to recruit 10 students per year and to provide them a high quality research experience in the laboratories of NIH-funded mentors and academic enrichment opportunities to equip them to be competitive for entry into biomedical graduate programs at top NIH-funded institutions. The students will work with mentors to develop a demanding research project that will lead to at least one publication;80% or more of each student's time will be devoted to completing this research project. An individual development plan (IDP) will also be designed for each student, to address any academic weaknesses that might affect success in future graduate attainment. The IDP will also provide activities to strengthen writing and quantitative skills, provide career information, develop presentation skills, discuss research ethics, and network with peers at scientific meetings. Student progress toward meeting the goals of their IDP will be monitored quarterly. We expect that establishing a PREP Scholars program at UAB will increase the number of minority applicants who are well prepared for entry into top doctoral programs across the US. To build a diverse work force, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will identify and prepare 10 students from groups underrepresented in biomedical research for a series of training and academic experiences to prepare them for entry into top doctoral graduate programs in the U.S. These students who will already have earned a baccalaureate degree will be paired with NIH-funded faculty members at UAB who will mentor these trainees and provide high quality research experiences in biomedical sciences. Individual development plans will be tailored to each student's needs, to identify specific activities to prepare them for success in doctoral study, including academic enrichment, scientific writing, quantitative skills development, presentation skills, ethics in research, career mentoring, and quarterly assessment of progress.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Minority Programs Review Committee (MPRC)
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Bender, Michael T
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University of Alabama Birmingham
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Andukuri, Adinarayana; Sohn, Young-Doug; Anakwenze, Chidinma P et al. (2013) Enhanced human endothelial progenitor cell adhesion and differentiation by a bioinspired multifunctional nanomatrix. Tissue Eng Part C Methods 19:375-85