The Rio Piedras Campus is requesting funds for the competitive renewal of its MARC U*STAR program. In the past this program has been successful in enabling underrepresented Hispanic students to pursue graduate studies and close to 90% have pursued research doctorates. This, in part, has been accomplished by targeting students from the less advantaged high schools, recruiting the highly capable, providing them with experiences that reinforce their interest in research and finally knitting them into a cohesive group that encourages its own members to pursue graduate studies. The Rio Piedras MARC U*STAR program is proposing to continue to pursue following specific aims: 1) To increase the number of minority undergraduate students who pursue graduate studies leading to doctoral degrees in the biomedical sciences, and 2) To increase the number of UPR-Rio Piedras undergraduates who are not only interested in, but highly capable of successfully pursuing biomedically relevant research careers. The first of these aims includes those objectives and activities which develop research skills in Juniors and Seniors. Since activities associated with a research experience are irreplaceable components in the development of future scientists, the program will continue to require a rigorous intramural experience that involves the completion of a specific project and includes an undergraduate dissertation. External experiences will also be required. However, the program will seek to improve this and other activities in order to assure that students have a better chance of becoming biomedical researchers. This will include, making better use of summer experiences, applying to graduate programs more suited to their needs and experience in the more complex instrumentation they will use in their graduate work.
The second aim i nvolves activities that should have an impact on the numbers of UPR-Rio Piedras Biology and Chemistry majors who are capable of pursuing research careers. These activities are directed to improving student performance and include: Freshman Mentoring, Summer Math Immersion for in-coming Freshmen and Curricular Enhancement.

Public Health Relevance

The fundamental goal of Rio Piedras MARC is to increase the numbers of underrepresented biomedical scientists with the highest academic and scientific knowledge and skill that allows them to enter the arena of competitive research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
MARC Undergraduate NRSA Institutional Grants (T34)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Minority Programs Review Committee (MPRC)
Program Officer
Hagan, Ann A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras
Schools of Arts and Sciences
San Juan
United States
Zip Code
Vázquez-Rosa, Edwin; Rodríguez-Cruz, Eva N; Serrano, Sybelle et al. (2014) Cdk5 phosphorylation of EFhd2 at S74 affects its calcium binding activity. Protein Sci 23:1197-207
Morales-Rivera, Amarilys; Hernández-Burgos, Mayté M; Martínez-Rivera, Arlene et al. (2014) Anxiolytic effects of oxytocin in cue-induced cocaine seeking behavior in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 231:4145-55
Schwartz, Sarina C; Pinto-Pacheco, Brismar; Pitteloud, Jean-Philippe et al. (2014) Formation of ternary complexes with MgATP: effects on the detection of Mg2+ in biological samples by bidentate fluorescent sensors. Inorg Chem 53:3204-9
Serrano-Velez, Jose L; Rodriguez-Alvarado, Melanie; Torres-Vazquez, Irma I et al. (2014) Abundance of gap junctions at glutamatergic mixed synapses in adult Mosquitofish spinal cord neurons. Front Neural Circuits 8:66
Santiago-Rodriguez, Tasha M; Patricio, Ana R; Rivera, Jessica I et al. (2014) luxS in bacteria isolated from 25- to 40-million-year-old amber. FEMS Microbiol Lett 350:117-24
Díaz-Balzac, Carlos A; Vázquez-Figueroa, Lionel D; García-Arrarás, José E (2014) Novel markers identify nervous system components of the holothurian nervous system. Invert Neurosci 14:113-25
Ferrer-Acosta, Yancy; Rodriguez Cruz, Eva N; Vaquer, Ana del C et al. (2013) Functional and structural analysis of the conserved EFhd2 protein. Protein Pept Lett 20:573-83
Diaz-Balzac, Carlos A; Lazaro-Pena, Maria I; Garcia-Rivera, Enrique M et al. (2012) Calbindin-D32k is localized to a subpopulation of neurons in the nervous system of the sea cucumber Holothuria glaberrima (Echinodermata). PLoS One 7:e32689
Diaz, Agustin; Saxena, Vipin; Gonzalez, Julissa et al. (2012) Zirconium phosphate nano-platelets: a novel platform for drug delivery in cancer therapy. Chem Commun (Camb) 48:1754-6
Padilla-Coreano, Nancy; Do-Monte, Fabricio H; Quirk, Gregory J (2012) A time-dependent role of midline thalamic nuclei in the retrieval of fear memory. Neuropharmacology 62:457-63

Showing the most recent 10 out of 21 publications