The overall goal of the Pittsburgh Summer Program for Undergraduate Research Growth (Pitt-SPURG) is to encourage entry of undergraduates majoring in quantitative sciences into careers in biomedical research by introducing them to contemporary problems in biological signal transduction and receptor function that benefit from inter-disciplinary approaches. Pitt-SPURG will exploit the mentor focus on nuclear and membrane-delimited receptors and cell signaling, where there is extensive application of physical, biochemical and structural approaches to addressing these biological problems. During the 10-week program, students will conduct original research in an area of receptors, G proteins, or signal transduction under the mentored supervision of Molecular Pharmacology Program faculty. Students will work on problems at the frontier of biomedical science using state-of-the art techniques. Students will also follow a dedicated series of lectures to introduce physical and quantitative science majors to nuclear and membrane-delimited receptors and biological signaling problems and technical approaches to introduce them to this subject. Additionally, they will participate in a seminar program designed to further their understanding of the scientific process and critical analysis, and workshop forums on career paths within biomedical research. The long-term goal is to promote scientific training of new investigators that exploits interdisciplinary approaches to address significant research problems in these disciplines. Prospective students will be selected from a large and outstanding pool of candidates that historically apply to summer research programs at the University of Pittsburgh. The program will be widely advertised on internet websites, in student newspapers, mailings to college and universities with high numbers of students pursuing graduate scientific training, and by word of mouth. A core of NIH-funded, experienced investigators have been chosen as mentors. Applicants will be asked to submit a curriculum vita including personal data, academic major, grade point average, previous experience, and their top choices of summer research. Summer students will be selected based on merit and appropriateness of fit and diversity by the Executive Committee. Ancillary activities will include laboratory safety, and scientific ethics. At the end of the program, each student will present the results of his/her work at a colloquium of participating students and mentors. A certificate will be awarded to all students successfully completing the Program. Longitudinal follow-up will monitor graduate training and career choices elected by student participants in this program and will be compared with that of entering biomedical graduate students, who were quantitative science majors but did not participate in Pitt-SPURG or similar programs. This tracking will provide an assessment of the ability of the program to achieve its goals. ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-BRT-1 (SU))
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Zlotnik, Hinda
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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