The proposed Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) at the University of Massachusetts - Boston aims to enhance the academic and research experience of underrepresented students at the undergraduate level, in order to increase the number pursuing doctoral study in biomedical fields. The program focuses on undergraduate majors in Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as Psychology majors pursuing the B.S. degree. A key component of this proposal is the University's U56 partnership with the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), the main goal of which is to address health disparities in minority populations and to improve research, training, and outreach opportunities for minority students, nurses, and scientists. IMSD Fellows will have access to mentored research opportunities at DF/HCC. IMSD will provide year-round structured enrichment activities, research preparation, research experience, and preparation for application to Ph.D. programs. The program will emphasize high achievement in courses and the development of independence in research. Using a proactive recruitment process, URM students at the sophomore level who are currently taking science courses will be recruited to apply to become IMSD Affiliates. IMSD Affiliates who have successfully completed at least the first level of gateway courses with an average grade of 3.0 or better and who are within two years (60 credits) of graduation will be encouraged to apply to become IMSD Fellows. The program will include 12 Affiliates and 10 Fellows per year who will receive close faculty mentoring and careful monitoring of their academic work. An important goal will be to develop a community of science learners and a drive to excel academically. Affiliates will attend Facilitated Study Groups (FSGs) at a Science Enrichment Center, take Calculus and Organic Chemistry prep courses, and participate in a Biomedical Career Development workshop. Each IMSD Affiliate will be coached by an upperclass IMSD Fellow and will be mentored by the co-directors and a faculty advisor. IMSD Fellows will participate in an intensive Research Skills Course and then in a closely guided individual research project in the laboratory of his/her research mentor during 2 academic years and 2 summers at UMB or DF/HCC. Fellows will continue to interact with their peer group through the Science Enrichment Center, while their research activities become based in their laboratory group. The primary mentor for the Fellows will be their research advisor and will have semi-monthly check-in meetings with either co-director, who will monitor their progress. Fellows will receive active coaching and assistance from their mentors and the co-directors as they proceed to select and apply to graduate schools and research fellowship opportunities. The proposed program, """"""""Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity at UMass Boston,"""""""" will provide underrepresented minority students at the undergraduate level with intensive research training and other academic enrichment activities. The program will produce underrepresented students who are exceptionally well prepared and highly motivated to succeed in biomedical research at the Ph.D. level and beyond.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Minority Programs Review Committee (MPRC)
Program Officer
Portnoy, Matthew
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Budget Start
Budget End
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Fiscal Year
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Indirect Cost
University of Massachusetts Boston
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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