This application would create a BP-ENDURE program in St. Louis for undergraduate students pursuing training in the neurosciences. The objective of the grant is to provide rigorous and critical training in neuroscience to a diverse cohort of students from three partner institutions (Washington University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Harris-Stowe State University). By providing support for 10 funded positions for summer research, this proposal will establish a Pipeline to graduate school. The Pipeline emphasizes sustained training in oral and written science communication, discovery science and outreach experience. Specifically, this proposal will support 10 early-stage trainees annually for up to three years each. Our Pipeline has long-standing commitments to cutting-edge research, to interdisciplinary education, and to providing modern career development. We seek to be a Program that responds to changes in the research environment by helping our students to pursue important and innovative problems and concepts, to adopt new techniques and to communicate effectively with their peers and the general public. The proposal will allow for the addition of three interactive and immersive courses that will appeal to teens and create a community of young scientists who can begin as early as the summer after their freshman year. The curriculum and research environments will remain broad and deep, combining expertise in molecular, cellular and systems-level approaches to the study of neural function and dysfunction. The Program will recruit and retain talented, diverse students through innovative and dedicated coordination with the University and partner schools and be evaluated formally by a Board of Directors and an external assessor. Major new initiatives aimed at accomplishing these goals include: 1) the establishment of a new network of research opportunities for undergraduates interested in the neurosciences, 2) the introduction of three interactive courses (The Teen Brain, Neuroscience Futures, and Skills for a Neuroscientist) to bolster neuroscience fundamentals and a sense of community among the students, 3) enhanced involvement of the undergraduates in the Society for Neuroscience Brain Bee as part of their training in science communication, and 4) refinement of a near peer-mentoring program that has graduate students working with undergraduates and undergraduates working with high school students. These initiatives will ensure our students remain at the forefront of developments in neuroscience research, teaching and outreach.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal would continue the tradition of innovative training for top-notch neuroscientists at Washington University. The proposed Neuroscience Pipeline will involve undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds to the depth and breadth of molecular, cellular and systems research on the nervous system and its diseases. Through advanced teaching, intensive advising and dedicated community outreach, the faculty will help students to prepare for graduate-level studies. The proposal would support early stage undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds pursuing cutting-edge questions in the brain sciences.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
Program Officer
Jones, Michelle
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Washington University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Saint Louis
United States
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José-Edwards, Diana S; Johnson, Neco X; Jimenez, Jessica et al. (2017) A Guide for Undergraduates to the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting. J Undergrad Neurosci Educ 15:E10-E12