The UCI BIT Undergraduate Summer Research (BIT-SR) Program for undergraduates will be coordinated with and supported by the infrastructure of the UCI Biomedical Informatics Training (BIT) Program, a campus-wide NIH/NLM-supported training program administered by the UCI Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics. The BIT Program provides in-depth training to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in either computational or life sciences, and trains them to working competence in the cross-discipline with an emphasis on cutting-edge research in biomedical informatics and computational biology approaches to problems in areas such as molecular biology and biochemistry, pharmacology and drug discovery, genomics, proteomics, structural biology, and systems biology, particular areas of strength at UCI. It is the goal of the BIT program to prepare world class computational and life scientists in their primary fields with sufficient cross- training for interdisciplinary collaboration at a scholarly level. Each student in the BIT program is mentored by two faculty members, one from the computational sciences and one from the life sciences: a thesis advisor from the student's home Department, and a co-advisor in the cross-discipline with ongoing collaborations with the student's thesis advisor in areas related to the student's thesis research. Each BIT student performs his/her thesis research in collaboration with a graduate student in the cross-discipline in the co-advisors lab. Based on their research interests, each BIT-SR Program student will be assigned to a faculty-advisor in his/her area of interest and teamed with a BIT graduate student in that advisors laboratory who will serve as the student's immediate research mentor and collaborator. Throughout their summer research experience, each BIT-SR Program student will participate in all individual laboratory activities such as laboratory meeting presentations, departmental seminar attendance, etc. At the end of the summer research period, each student will prepare a written paper of their work and present their results at a BIT Undergraduate Summer Research Program Symposium attended by UCI/IGB faculty and students and the UCI research community at large.
The University of California at Irvine (UCI) enjoys a national reputation both for the excellence of its undergraduate research programs and for its NIH/NLM-supported Biomedical Informatics Training (BIT) Program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Here we propose to unite and extend these well- established and highly successful programs to model a high quality summer research experience for community college students from low-income, first generation, and historically underserved ethnic and racial backgrounds from two-year colleges in the greater Los Angeles area, to encourage these students to pursue research training and career opportunities in rapidly emerging fields at the interface of the computational and life sciences.