The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) seeks funding to continue its summer undergraduate research program for undergraduates from groups traditionally under- represented in biomedical research or from disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with disabilities. UMMS provides a very intensive research environment attracting more than $240 million in research funding in 2010, 80 percent of which came from federal sources. In 2010 UMMS received a Clinical and Translational Science Award, one of fifty-five elite institutions in the US to receive this award since 2006. Annually, over fifty-five UMMS faculty members serve as mentors/lab hosts to the trainees, Selection Committee members, lecturers and poster judges for the program. The NIH funded program supports 24 trainees annually. The UMMS Office of Research provides matching funds each year for additional (8 - 10) trainees for the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) for students who do not meet NIH selection criteria. Both programs are run in parallel, provide identical experiences, and are under the Program Co-Directors. NIH funding will allow this program to continue through years 21 - 25. From 1993 - 2012 there have been approximately three hundred eighty (380) NIH trainees. Former trainees have been cited as authors and co-authors, poster presentations, abstracts and acknowledgements for their contributions in over 250 peer reviewed journal articles, representing a significant increase over the 85 citations reported in the 2008 NIH program submission. (This may not represent the total number of citations, but only the ones we have been able to locate and verify) In the last funding cycle (2008 - 2012) there were 119 NIH and 42 SURE trainees (total = 161) representing 115 US colleges and universities. The UMMS summer undergraduate research program is a highly structured program. In addition to the laboratory experience, trainees must provide an abstract of their work and develop a poster for a Closing Poster session attended by the entire UMMS research community. Additional elements of the program include an orientation to research with lectures on: keeping a laboratory notebook;the responsible conduct of research, animal safety, chemical safety and radiation safety. During the first two weeks of the program there are six lectures on recent or "breaking" issues in biomedical research. A session on the Responsible Conduct of Research is held for the trainees. Trainees are randomly divided into four small groups (8 - 9 each) for weekly Small Group Discussion sessions (weeks 4 - 9) led by Post-Doctoral Fellows to adjust to discussing their research and begin preparing their posters. Twice during the program each trainee attends a small group Breakfast Club meeting with the Program Co-Directors. Trainees are housed in a local college dormitory and weekday transportation to/from UMMS is provided. At the end of each program trainees complete an extensive program evaluation. Information derived from the evaluation is tracked year-to-year and used to improve the program. Mentors/lab hosts complete a mid-program evaluation used to give the trainees a progress report on their performance, and a final evaluation used when letters of recommendation are requested. Mentors/lab hosts also evaluate the program.
For over twenty years the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) has sought to increase diversity in biotechnology, biomedical research and health professions (BBHP). UMMS has hosted this summer undergraduate research experience since 1993 (1991-1992 for high school students), hosting approximately 380 trainees from groups under-represented in biomedical research and disadvantaged backgrounds. Trainees with disabilities were added to the target groups in 2008. In a highly structured experience, trainees are placed in UMMS research laboratories interacting daily with faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduates students and lab support staff. Trainees attend lab meetings, seminars and research lectures, as well as participate in small discussion groups with their peers. The program culminates with a poster session where trainees display their work and engage the UMMS scientific community in discussion.
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