The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique set of challenges for STEM education and authentic, in- person, undergraduate research. There is a need for quality training resources and experiences for undergraduate students that can be accessed virtually. Texas Tech University (TTU) will undertake a three-pronged approach to providing these resources while leveraging the increased, societal interest in biomedical science. This approach will complement the current, NIH-funded Plains Bridges to the Baccalaureate (PBB) Program and enhance the recruitment and support of diverse undergraduate students in biomedical-science-related majors. TTU will capitalize on successful models from other institutions to engage a broad audience in connecting quantitative and scientific reasoning with current events. The approach will focus on the 1) development and delivery of an open- enrollment, seminar course, ?The Science & Math of COVID-19?; 2) development of virtual PBB research training modules, ?PBB Scholar Virtual Laboratory?; and 3) development of a free, public, online resource hub, ?TTU Virtual Lab Methods Repository.? The Science & Math of COVID-19 seminar course will help to spark interest in the biomedical sciences while improving student quantitative and computational skills; lectures from this seminar will be made available to PBB participants via the program?s Blackboard ?course? where program materials are hosted. The PBB Scholar Virtual Laboratory will provide enhanced research training for PBB participants and will eventually be freely available online as a part of the TTU Virtual Lab Methods Repository. These training modules will provide a strong preparation for TTU students to then register for an upper-level course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE). Therefore, the supplement to the PBB program at TTU will result in an enhanced biomedical research training environment at TTU and beyond.

Public Health Relevance

The supplement to the Plains Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program at Texas Tech University will support the development of virtual research training modules that will enhance undergraduate biomedical research training at Texas Tech University and beyond. The training modules will be used as part of the Bridges participant?s preparation for a summer research experience. The modules will eventually be freely available online to other biomedical training programs across the United States.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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NIGMS Initial Review Group (TWD)
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Blatch, Sydella Anne
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Texas Tech University
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United States
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Mittal, Amandeep; Gampala, Srinivas S L; Ritchie, Glen L et al. (2014) Related to ABA-Insensitive3(ABI3)/Viviparous1 and AtABI5 transcription factor coexpression in cotton enhances drought stress adaptation. Plant Biotechnol J 12:578-89