The Cornell University MHIRT "Biomedicines and Control of Tropical Diseases and vectors" Program will continue to provide undergraduate international research opportunities to underrepresented minority students from health disparities populations and will continue to encourage them, throughout their training, into pursuing careers in the basic sciences and biomedical fields. This will continue to be accomplished through the implementation of a robust field and laboratory biomedical research training curriculum on the distribution, chemistry and pharmacology of natural products in terrestrial and aquatic organisms and the importance of their utilization as traditional treatments of disease and sources of lead compounds for drug development. The students will participate in summer programs at established laboratories and field research stations in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The undergraduate students will participate in exploratory activities of the Neotropical forests of the Caribbean collecting and classifying plants, animals, and various organisms containing biologically active substances. These biosamples will be transported to the laboratory and studied for their chemical profiles upon isolation of their major secondary metabolites. At the same time, these metabolites will be evaluated for their biological activity as disease vector controls, antibiotic and antiviral efficacies as priorities. Particular emphasis will be placed on the evaluation of natural substances isolated for their efficacy in the treatment of prevalent endemic infectious diseases affecting underserved populations in the country or areas where the program will take place. Each individual student participating will develop and carry out independently a research project that will be reviewed, approved and evaluated by the Training Advisory Committee prior to its initiation and upon its completion. All preliminary field and laboratory work will be completed during the summer and continued in the fall and spring at Cornell University. The research will be presented and results shared at national undergraduate research forums such as the SACNAS Conference and the Leaderships Alliance Symposium. These results will be published in the undergraduate research scientific journal "Emanations" at Cornell University.
The Cornell MHIRT Program plan proposes to create opportunities for underrepresented minority students to receive international training in biomedical research and to strongly encourage the pursuit of graduate education in health disparities related biomedical fields