A Bridges to the Doctorate program between the two major Hispanic Serving Institutions in California's central valley is proposed. Under-represented minority (URM) students from California State University Fresno (Fresno State) will complete Master's program in biomedical/behavioral sciences to continue and complete their PhD program at the University of California Merced (UC Merced). This proposal will emphasize areas of both biomedical and behavioral research that can utilize and build on major research themes, activities and facilities at the two institutions including Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions Program (RIMI) at Fresno state, and the Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI) and Stem Cell Research Consortium (SCRC) at UC Merced. Faculty members from the Colleges of Science and Mathematics (CSM) at Fresno State and from the Schools of Natural Sciences and Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts at UC Merced will create a highly interactive program to encourage students from underrepresented groups to enter the M.S. program at Fresno State and ease the transition of these students into programs at UC Merced. Both Fresno State and UC Merced have a large ethnic minority student population and are Department of Education-designated Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), but small percentages of students from underrepresented backgrounds continue post baccalaureate trainings, especially Ph.D. program in biomedical sciences. The purpose of this program is to create a pipeline to the PhD by providing academic training and research experiences to increase the number of Fresno State students pursuing doctorates at UC Merced in the areas of biomedical/ behavioral research. The program will provide training and financial support for four Fresno State-UC Merced Bridges Scholars each year.
The specific aims are: (1) To recruit at least four Masters underrepresented minority students each year with a demonstrated commitment and potential to complete a doctoral program in biomedical and behavioral research, (2) Successfully train them in one focus area represented by the pool of participating bridges faculty during the Master's program to ensure a smooth transition to the PhD program, (3) Provide academic guidance during the semester at Fresno State with summer internships at UC Merced and financial assistance for two years in the development of scientific and research skills to insure academic and professional enhancement and (4) Develop and implement an evaluation plan that leads to successful transfer and completion of a PhD program in biomedical/behavioral sciences and optimizes each aspect of the program to develop a viable long-term programmatic bridge between the campuses. A set of milestones will be used to measure project success in meeting the proposed goals. Formative and summative evaluation of the program performance will be analyzed through a comprehensive evaluation plan. The Fresno State-UC Merced Bridges program will help to expedite Fresno State's institutional goal of becoming a premier campus in research and research training among comprehensive universities, and a model HSI for addressing biomedical research, and will help UC Merced, the first new research university opened in the 21st century, to build its doctoral programs and increase the diversity of students entering those programs.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed Bridges to Doctorate program at California State University Fresno (Fresno State) will partner with the University of California - Merced (UC Merced) to develop a pipeline for Masters Students from Fresno to get accepted to and complete PhD programs at UC Merced in biomedical or behavioral sciences. Both Fresno State and UC Merced are located in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) in California's Central Valley, one of the most rapidly growing yet underserved areas of California. SJV is a culturally and ethnically diverse region that trails the rest of California in most socioeconomic and environmental indicators. By working together the faculty members from both these campuses will create a highly interactive program to promote underrepresented ethnic minorities to enter the MS/MA program at Fresno State and ease the transition of these students into PhD programs at UC Merced. A range of curricular, research and co-curricular activities are planned to train and provide financial support for four Bridges Scholars each year. Formative and summative evaluation of the program performance will be analyzed through a comprehensive evaluation plan.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Training and Workforce Development Subcommittee - D (TWD)
Program Officer
Brown, Patrick
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
California State University Fresno
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Diaz-Parga, Pedro; Goto, Joy J; Krishnan, V V (2018) Chemistry and Chemical Equilibrium Dynamics of BMAA and Its Carbamate Adducts. Neurotox Res 33:76-86