The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and its partner in this Bridge-to the-Doctorate Program application, Texas State University-San Marcos (TxState) are located in South Texas, a region with 70% of its population designated as members of underrepresented minority (URM) populations. Both institutions are designated Hispanic-Serving Institutions and actively support and promote various outreach programs targeting URM students within South Texas. UTHSCSA, a Ph.D.-granting institution and TxState, the master's degree-granting institution (a predominantly undergraduate institution that offers only a limited number of graduate courses) propose to establish the South Texas Doctoral Bridge Program (STDBP), a cooperative partnership that aims to provide an opportunity to qualified URM students, who are capable but often not adequately prepared, to increase their academic competitiveness and preparedness for entry into, and success in top-tier Ph.D. programs. The principal goal is to increase the number of URM students that graduate with doctoral degrees and pursue biomedical research careers, by capitalizing on the substantial URM population in South Texas. This goal will be accomplished through the following Specific Aims: 1.) Increase the number of URM students completing thesis-based M.S. degrees at TxState and ready to matriculate into strong doctoral programs;2.) Enhance the capability of the TxState Bridge Scholars to be competitive for, and gain admission into strong doctoral programs, such as the IMGP at UTHSCSA.
These aims will be achieved through a series of programmatic activities, in conjunction with research experiences to be provided by dedicated faculty mentors and a revamped curriculum at TxState, that involve rigorous didactic coursework in critical thinking and experimental design, journal clubs, mentoring, workshops and continuous interactions with graduate faculty and students at UTHSCSA. Broad outcomes projected for Bridge Scholars include: 1.) M.S. degree in biochemistry/chemistry following a period of graduate coursework and high quality and significant thesis research;2.) Competitive scores on the GRE to enhance chances of acceptance into strong doctoral programs;3.) Participation in varied and significant research experiences and acquisition of writing and oral presentation skills necessary to communicate results of those experiences, e.g. in form of theses, platform/poster presentations at national scientific meetings and co-authorship in peer-reviewed journal articles;4.) Continuous counseling, nurturing and mentoring support (via continuous exposure to peer URM students, STDBP alumni and successful URM faculty at UTHSCSA and at conferences) in order to build confidence necessary for success in graduate school and ultimately in biomedical research careers. We anticipate that, overall, the various elements of the STDBP will enable bridging of highly motivated URM students in TxState's M.S. program into the UTHSCSA Ph.D. or other first-rate Ph.D programs, ensuring their success in future doctoral studies and biomedical research careers.

Public Health Relevance

There is a need for increase diversification in the biomedical research workforce. The goal of the South Texas Doctoral Bridge Program, a formal partnership between University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) (PhD granting institution) and Texas State University-San Marcos (master's degree-granting institution) is to increase the number of students from underrepresented minority (URM) populations completing doctoral studies in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Through a series of programmatic activities involving rigorous didactic preparation, mentoring and experiential learning, URM students in the master's degree program at Texas State will be bridged into competitive and high quality PhD degree programs, and/or biomedical research careers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (TWD)
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Hamlet, Michelle R
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University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
Schools of Medicine
San Antonio
United States
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Perez, Romel B; Tischer, Alexander; Auton, Matthew et al. (2014) Alanine and proline content modulate global sensitivity to discrete perturbations in disordered proteins. Proteins 82:3373-84