This project builds on a successful history of a 15 STT and 23 years of the SMART summer undergraduate research program in the Graduate School of Baylor College of Medicine located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The objective is to inspire and prepare under-represented undergraduates to continue their education in biomedicine. The goals are (1) to introduce 10 undergraduate UR participants/year to heart, lung and blood research, including cutting edge technologies in computational techniques, imaging, tissue engineering, knock-out mouse analysis with a goal that 80% will report that being in the program encouraged them to conduct research during their career;(2) to promote more independent functioning as scientists, so that 80% will meet all goals;3) to expand and strengthen each participant's base of scientific knowledge, including cutting edge technologies, with a goal that 80% will report a large to enormous gain in knowledge;(4) to help students improve preparation for the GRE by increasing scores by an average of 100 points on the combined verbal and quantitative sections of the exam;(5) to provide personal career counseling to help students access the next step in their training. The plan for meeting our objectives include the following strategies: (1) Placing students in productive research laboratories where they will become a part of the research team, learn new techniques, like cryoEM, 2 photon microscopy, MRI analysis, tissue engineering and computational analysis of data typically not available on their own campuses and contribute to the research effort;(2) Encouraging and monitoring the students'progress toward more independent functioning as assessed on the progress assessment form;(3) Providing research discussion groups and seminars that emphasize heart, lung and blood research and visits to several labs conducting frontier level research in imaging, cardiac tissue reconstruction and computational analysis;(4) Providing access to the SMART GRE preparatory workshops and test-prep counseling;(5) Providing information and opportunities for students to gain better perspectives on career choices through a variety of mechanisms, including a Graduate School Night, graduate school application workshops, a session on MD/Ph.D. programs and personal career counseling Progress on each objective is monitored through a variety of surveys completed by students and their mentors and analysis of brief written summaries and presentations of participants'projects.

Public Health Relevance

This summer research program will involve under-represented undergraduates to frontier level cardiac, circulatory, lung and blood research at Baylor College of Medicine. Trainees will be full participants in the SMART Program that offers arrange of educational activities to inspire and prepare students for biomedical research careers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-CSR-Y (M2))
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Cook, Nakela L
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Baylor College of Medicine
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Barry, Meagan A; Wang, Qian; Jones, Kathryn M et al. (2016) A therapeutic nanoparticle vaccine against Trypanosoma cruzi in a BALB/c mouse model of Chagas disease. Hum Vaccin Immunother 12:976-87