The future of our nation requires scientific expertise to maintain our current global economic and innovation status. To do this requires that this nation develops and trains the people who can solve problems that we are confronting including new and emergent disease, fundamental process that affect human health including nutrition, water safety, plant productivity, normal cellular processes, and mental health. However, not all sectors of the population have access to opportunities that allow them to become fully engaged in the sciences. U.S. citizens and permanent residence belonging to certain ethnic groups are particularly underrepresented in their participation in science (including basic biomedical sciences), technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as are economically/socially disadvantaged and disabled people. We seek to continue the Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Science Training and Research (MARC U-STAR) program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). CSUN had extensive experience with both the MARC HURT and the MARC U*STAR programs and has successfully prepared many students for acceptance into competitive PhD programs. Our goal is to increase their participation in basic biomedical research careers. We proposed to accomplish this by increasing the pool of high-achieving undergraduates in chemistry, biology, mathematics, psychology, kinesiology, physics, health sciences, and occupational and environmental health. To increase the pool of high-achieving students, we propose develop a new summer Molecular Biology Research Boot Camp for the College of Science and Mathematics, to continue and enhance several levels of intervention, including Summer Math and Language Arts for month workshop, Science 100, outreach and advisement. Some of these high-achieving students will be selected to participate in the Junior-Senior component of the U-STAR program and will receive further special training that will ultimately prepare them for graduate school and lead to the Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D. We expect that these efforts will increase by 10% over the five year period the total number of students who are eligible to apply for the Junior-Senior component of MARC U-STAR. We shall solicit applications for the Junior-Senior component from students enrolled at CSUN as well as from students enrolled in the local community colleges. Historically under represented students are Afro-Americans, Chicanos and other Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Filipinos and Southeast Asians. CSUN also has a large population of disabled and Pell-eligible students. Trainees will be selected from this pool by the MARC U-STAR Advisory Committee which will be composed of administrators, MARC U-STAR mentors and two MARC U-STAR trainees. The goal of this component is to place 80% of students who complete the program in Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D. programs. Over the history of the MARC U*STAR program which was first funded in 2000 at CSUN, student persistence in Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D. programs is 85%. It is anticipated that this will be improved to 95%. A. To increase the pool of high achieving undergraduates at CSUN. We propose develop a new Research Boot Camp, continue and enhance several levels of intervention, outreach and advisement. B. Trainees for the Junior/Senior Component We will appoint 24 trainees in each of five years. Trainees will be selected using the following criteria: ) Minimum GPA of 3.00. 2) Junior standing or two years from graduation, 3) A major in a biomedically related field, 4) Interest in pursuing an advanced degree in the biomedical sciences, 5) Interest in being involved in a research project, 6) Willingness to participate in MARC U-STAR Program activities.

Public Health Relevance

The future of our nation requires a well-trained scientific workforce that is inclusive and as diverse as the populations whose expenditures and taxes support these sciences. Unfortunately, not all of the various demographic groups have access to the opportunities that prepare them well for careers in basic biomedical sciences. U.S. citizens and permanent residents belonging to certain ethnic groups are especially underrepresented in their participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as are disabled and economically and socially disadvantaged people: they are known as traditionally underrepresented (TU) in the basic biomedical sciences. Our goal is to increase participation of these groups in basic biomedical research careers, and we will do this by providing a holistic, integrated and developmentally-appropriate program that will enhance their critical thinking, research capacity, and communication skills. At graduation these undergraduates will have become high-performing science students able to gain entry into top-tier research programs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
MARC Undergraduate NRSA Institutional Grants (T34)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Training and Workforce Development Subcommittee - D (TWD)
Program Officer
Okita, Richard T
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
California State University Northridge
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
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