FIU is a public minority-serving research institution located in Miami. It has an enrollment of 38,000+ students (71.99% URM), "health" as a designated mission area, and a stated goal to be one of the nation's top public urban research universities. FIU provides an excellent opportunity to develop a significant number of URM scientists for biomedical research careers. In Fall 2007, FIU launches a new and rigorous biological sciences curriculum for freshmen called Quantifying Biology in the classroom (Q'BIC) that is integrative and quantitative. FIU anticipates that Q'BIC will provide a pool of talented &exceptionally prepared students for its MARC U*STAR Program. FIU proposes a MARC U*STAR Program for 18 students in a Q'BIC curriculum, &6 top students in a traditional curriculum. This format is necessary because students in Q'BIC will not be eligible for MARC U*STAR the first grant year, yet this format can provide significant insights. For year 1 of the 5-year grant period, 6 juniors will be selected from participating disciplines;for years 2, 3 &4, they will be selected from pools of 25 students enrolled in Q'BIC. Q'BIC is a 4-year program developed by FIU biological sciences, statistics, mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science and biomedical engineering faculty. Q'BIC is an integrated lock-step cohort "block" program where students take classes together, and courses within blocks have identified &coordinated areas of overlapping synergy. Scholars are able to see how biological data is analyzed, how mathematics can model biological processes, and teaching units show them how sound biological theories are generated. Part 1 (freshmen &sophomores) integrates calculus &statistics with biology, genetics, ecology &chemistry;Part 2 (juniors &seniors), offers tailored- upper level courses. MARC U*STAR Fellows actively participate in directed scientific research &enrichment activities that include a simulation &modeling work-shop, journal club activities, thesis writing workshop, science cafes, scientific presentations &participation in extramural research programs. Thus, the three-prong goal for FlU's MARC U*STAR Program is: (1) provide motivated students with the tools &skills that allow them to be academically competitive &successful;(2) immerse them in supportive &stimulating research environments that enhance &nurture their interest in science, (3) increase the number of URM who continue on to, excel in and complete biomedical or behavioral sciences Ph.D. or MD/PhD programs.
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