Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) seeks to establish a Minority Access to Research Careers Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U*STAR) program to promote advancement of minorities who pursue advanced research careers in biomedical science. WSSU proposes to accomplish the following measurable objectives for the five years of the award: 1) that the rate at which our program graduates gain admission to competitive Ph.D. programs in biomedical and behavioral sciences will increase to a value of 13% relative to our current level of 8%;2) that we will work with ongoing programs (MBRS, RIMI, NC Biotechnology etc) as part of the unified plan such that the number of MARC-eligible students at the university will increase by 10 each year relative to the current level. The goal is to increase the pool of talented minority students at WSSU who are well-prepared academically and experienced in research to be competitive to gain admission into top graduate programs leading to the Ph.D. Degree. We propose to use a simple five activity training program to achieve these objectives: 1) introduce the students to biomedical research via hands-on participation in a research project;2) introduce the students to critical scientific evaluation by critiquing and presenting journal club papers;3) provide experience in scientific writing and speaking via presentation of their research results as a poster;4) provide exposure of the students to research faculty;and 5) foster a long-term commitment to pursue a career in the biomedical and behavioral sciences through an experience that exemplifies the excitement and challenges of relevant scientific investigation. Our cohort will include four junior and four senior trainees. We also propose pre-MARC activities whose goal is to increase the success rate of recruiting and retaining talented minority science students in their freshman and sophomore years at WSSU. The first two years of the undergraduate program in the various biomedical sciences are rigorous and demanding. It is at this time that the greatest attrition from these disciplines occurs, even among talented and gifted students. It is our intent to provide pre-MARC activities for five freshmen and five sophomores that includes a solid science curriculum, enhanced by: 1) introduction to research;2) participation in special workshops;3) careful academic advertisement;4) networking through interaction of the students with science faculty and other successful science students at WSSU;5) tutoring for enhanced achievement in biomedical sciences;6) participation in a biomedical sciences seminar series;and 7) intensive career counseling and extended mentoring with research partners at Wake Forest University. Finally, it is our expectation that the resultant approach of this program will increase the number of students gaining admission into competitive Ph.D. programs to 13% of the total biomedical/behavioral Sciences majors from our current baseline of 8%, representing a modest 5% increase. The current baseline status for graduates in the institution entering Ph.D. programs in the past five years is 8% or 25 of 298 students. This means an average of five students pursues a biomedical/behavioral research career leading to a Ph.D. degree program per year while others chose to pursue medical, dental or work in the related industries. With a cohort of 8 (4 juniors and 4 seniors), we aim to increase the institutional number by 5% or an average of three students per year up to a total of 15 students in five years. This modest increase means that 75% (3 of 4 seniors per year) of the MARC students are anticipated to enter Ph.D. programs each year and we are optimistic for achieving this outcome. We expect the pre-MARC activity to be a channel to enhancing the achievement of many students majoring in biomedical science disciplines.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
MARC Undergraduate NRSA Institutional Grants (T34)
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Minority Programs Review Committee (MPRC)
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Toliver, Adolphus
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Winston-Salem State University
United States
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Pulgar, Victor M; Jeffers, Anne B; Rashad, Hanadi M et al. (2013) Increased constrictor tone induced by ouabain treatment in rats. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 62:174-83