The long-term goal of this program is to develop the requisite infrastructural support that will ultimately increase the diversity of our biomedical scientific workforce. In our view this lack of diversity in this workforce, particularly at the docoral and professional level, hinders our ability to enhance the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular, lung and blood diseases. This includes difficulty in recruiting individuals from under- represented groups into clinical trials, and efforts to eliminate health disparities that disproportionately affect individuals from under-represented groups. In addition, the lack of diversity narrows the pipeline and perspectives of talented individuals who can advance the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's scientific mission. To address this long-term goal, we have developed a number of short-term objectives: 1. Recruit a diverse, academically outstanding cohort of students from across the US and Puerto Rico to the University of Minnesota, 2. Provide student participants with a program faculty-mentored independent research opportunity, and 3. Develop an innovative research-training module devoted to recruiting and training a cohort of students committed to the pursuit of a combined MD-PhD degree. Each student will be working independently of the rest of the group on an individualized research project supervised by their faculty mentor. However, the overarching theme linking all of these research projects is their relevance to diseases of the heart, blood vessels, lung, and blood;blood resources;and sleep disorders. The proposed research training program will provide 22 undergraduate students recruited from across the US and Puerto Rico to an intensive 10-week summer independent research experience in the laboratories of program faculty mentors on the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus. It is anticipated that all of these students will have had between one and four years of university education at the baccalaureate level. To be eligible students must not yet have received their baccalaureate degree, and must self-identify as a member of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, or be disabled, or disadvantaged. The ultimate measure of the success of this research training program will be its ability to assist program participants in achieving their goals of becoming members of the biomedical scientific workforce, pursuing research in cardiovascular, lung or blood diseases. It is anticipated that between a third and a half of student participants will go o to pursue advanced research degrees in the biological sciences upon completion of their baccalaureate degree programs.
The overarching objective of our training program at the University of Minnesota is to leverage our outstanding faculty, resources and student-focused research environment to enhance the diversity of undergraduate students who go on to pursue advanced level training in the biomedical sciences. Our program accomplishes this by providing a rigorous, in-depth, mentored summer research experience that thoroughly exposes under- represented students to the principles of laboratory-based research and prepares them to successfully pursue PhD and MD/PhD training. We will train 22 summers per year during a 10-week summer experience in laboratories of program mentors on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus.
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