The main long-term goal of the UPRH MARC U-STAR Program is to increase the pool of talented minority undergraduates with the required academic preparation and research experience to be competitive to win admission to top graduate programs, and complete a Ph.D., Ph.D./D.V.M. or M.D./Ph.D. degree in disciplines relevant to biomedical research. We propose the following measurable objectives for the upcoming five-year MARC U-STAR grant period: a) 100% of our students will finish their B.S.; b) at least seventy percent (70%) of the participating undergraduates in the MARC U-STAR Program will enroll in graduate programs leading to a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences within three years of graduation; c) a publication rate of at least two research papers per year in peer-review journals throughout the entire funding period of the proposal will be maintained, where one of the authors is a MARC U-STAR UPRH student; d) at least thirty-three percent (33%) of graduates from UPRH in the Natural Sciences will apply to a graduate program or a post baccalaureate program. Based on the experience of having the MARC Program at UPRH for 29 years, suggestions from previous Advisory Committees, feedback provided by former MARC students, and an intensive evaluation scheme, our program will be designed to provide the student with the following competencies, which we believe are crucial for a successful transition to a graduate program: intensive research training, critical thinking development, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and preparation for entrance to graduate school. To accomplish this, our program proposes activities organized in the following Program Components: the MARC U-STAR Curriculum, Research Opportunities, Academic and Career Advisement, Seminar and Guest Speaker Program, Workshops and other Developmental Activities, Peer-mentorship among Trainees, and Community Outreach. The UPRH MARC U-STAR Program proposes to train twenty (20) undergraduate students per year for biomedical research careers. Our trainees will participate in our program for two (2) years, beginning at the end of their sophomore year. Participants will be tracked throughout their undergraduate work through an intensive evaluation plan. This plan will provide feedback for constant upgrading of the program. After completing the UPRH MARC U-STAR Program, our trainees will have the required academic preparation and research experience to do graduate work in fields such as Biochemistry, Biophysics, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Neuroscience, Cancer Biology, Organic Chemistry, and other biomedical research areas.

Public Health Relevance

The Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U-STAR) Program of the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao will increase the number of underrepresented minority students that will pursue graduate studies in the Biomedical Sciences. This will contribute to diversify the nation's biomedical research workforce. We will accomplish our goal by providing our students with intensive research training, critical thinking development, communication skills development, interpersonal skills development, and preparation for entrance to graduate school.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
MARC Undergraduate NRSA Institutional Grants (T34)
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Training and Workforce Development Subcommittee - D (TWD)
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Koduri, Sailaja
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University of Puerto Rico at Humacao
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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