The University of Georgia (UGA) proposes a renewed program in ?Post-baccalaureate Training in Infectious Diseases Research? (PREP@UGA) in response to the call for Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program R25 proposals. UGA is strongly committed to enhancing diversity at all levels, and has made major strides in recruiting and successfully graduating students belonging to historically underrepresented groups, including racial and ethnic minorities and students with disabilities. To date, PREP@UGA has trained 20 past and current scholars, with 11 of 12 graduates currently in PhD programs at Carnegie Foundation classification ?Doctoral University - Highest Research Activity? institutions. PREP@UGA will continue to draw on UGA?s remarkable strength in infectious diseases research, as well as strong graduate programs in several of its biology-related departments and collaborative affiliates, to provide intensive research experiences for eight underrepresented minority and disabled trainees each year. Forty-five faculty from the departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, Ecology, Engineering, Entomology, Environmental Health, Forest Resources, Genetics, Infectious Diseases, Mathematics, Microbiology, and Population Health, will incorporate PREP@UGA scholars into their laboratories, providing a unique, structured and mentored one- year research experience. Coupled with a number of PREP-specific and integrative (with PhD student) group activities, the latter enriched by NIH T32 training programs in Genetics, Glycoscience and Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, a pending IMSD program, and existing programs designed to enhance and support the success of graduate students belonging to underrepresented groups, these research experiences will provide trainees with skills and attributes and build the sense of community that is essential for retention of UR students in the biosciences. Each trainee will be guided by a specifically designed, individualized development plan to further enhance development of these skills and attributes, with guidance by a mentoring team, the support of a personal mentor, and access to the National Research Mentoring Network. The UGA PREP will recruit well-qualified candidates from UGA programs as well as via networks with undergraduate advisors and graduate coordinators established by PREP@UGA faculty, Directors, and the UGA Graduate School to ensure that the program trains young scientists who are committed to a career in biomedical research and who need to gain addition research experience and academic credentials to achieve this goal.
There is a significant need for diversity in the field of biomedical research. Underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities often face insurmountable challenges that preclude their entrance into scientific graduate training, leading to this lack of diversity. The University of Georgia?s Post-baccalaureate Training in Infectious Diseases Research Program will provide intensive research training experiences to recent post-baccalaureate underrepresented minority and disabled students as an avenue for these students to gain the skills and attributes necessary for gaining admission to biomedical graduate programs and attaining success careers in biomedical research.