The overall goal of the undergraduate and graduate components of our IMSD program is to increase the number of underrepresented students earning PhDs in biomedical sciences. At the undergraduate level, we continue to focus on activities designed to enable students to excel in foundation courses (chemistry, calculus, and biology), to graduate in biology with GPAs > 3.0, and to enter biomedical science-related PhD programs. For freshmen and sophomores in the Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP), we have developed a structured program of supplemental course work in chemistry, math, and biology; a lab skills course to prepare them for their research experiences, personal and academic advising, and a two quarter requirement for engagement in faculty-mentored research. For juniors and seniors participating in the BUSP-Honors Research program, we provide opportunities for significant engagement in research projects that take full advantage of the facilities and expertise on the campus. These activities have resulted in increased numbers of BUSP students earning a baccalaureate degree in biology with a GPA > 3.0 [currently, averaging 42% of BUSP participants (2002-06)] and increased numbers of students pursuing a PhD (currently 60% of BUSP-Honors students have pursued postgraduate education and 27% of BUSP-Honors students have pursued biomedical PhDs). Our aspirational goal for the IMSD-supported BUSP/BUSP-Honors students is to increase to at least 60% the number of them who pursue a PhD in the biomedical sciences. To help achieve this goal, we will continue to expand the pool from which we select the IMSD-funded BUSP students and to provide new program activities designed to engender in students an enhanced interest in and understanding of research careers and how to get there. The latter will include increased interaction with faculty from other research universities (via their visits to UC Davis) and increased interaction with UC Davis IMSD graduate students who are pursuing or have completed PhD programs. For the graduate program, our specific aims are to maintain the high success of the IMSD Fellows in advancing to candidacy; increase the percentage of students who complete their PhD program (through more focused mentoring); increase involvement of the IMSD Fellows with the campus T32 activities, focusing initially on the Molecular & Cellular T32; increase interaction of the Fellows with the BUSP/BUSP-Honors students; and continue the increase in acceptance rate of underrepresented students into the 12 participating graduate programs to that at least equivalent to the acceptance rate for non-underrepresented students.
The goal of our proposal is to increase the diversity of students pursuing a PhD in biomedical sciences and entering a research career in the biomedical sciences. To achieve this goal, we have developed a coordinated series of enrichment and advising activities for underrepresented undergraduates in the biological sciences and a series of professional development activities to enhance the skills of underrepresented first year PhD students in graduate programs that prepare students for biomedical research.
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