Health Science Center Receives Grant from Department of Defense to Work with HBCUs

January 24, 2006

UNT Health Science Center will receive almost $200,000 from the Department of Defense over the next three years to work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to increase the number of minorities doing prostate cancer research.

Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, PhD, associate dean in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and professor of molecular biology and immunology at the health science center, will serve as principal investigator for the grant.

The grant period will begin in February and continue through January 2009, and the funds will provide an opportunity for five undergraduate students to participate in a summer training program at the health science center each year.

The grant, â??Increasing Minority Biomedical Researchers in Prostate Cancer Research Through Academic Affiliations Between UNTHSC and HBCUs,â? will be administered through the Institute for Cancer Research at the health science center.

The project will include other faculty members from the health science center and faculty advisors from Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University and Tuskegee University.

Students selected for the program will be provided with a list of available prostate cancer research projects currently underway at the health science center, and they will indicate their preference of projects.

After receiving a project assignment, students will participate in a 10-week research experience in a mentorâ??s assigned laboratory. During the research period, students will work at least 40 hours per week in the laboratory under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor.

The mentor will meet with the student daily and assist him or her in setting goals, planning experiments, and analyzing data obtained. The entire experience will culminate in a final week presentation of research results.

â??This is a great step forward for the Institute for Cancer Research,â? Dr. Vishwanatha said. â??Many of our faculty members have been excited about participating in this grant, and Iâ??m excited about our increasing relationship with underrepresented minority institutions.â?

Currently, the health science center has an office of outreach that participates in several programs to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the biomedical sciences. Programs range from mentoring at elementary schools to providing graduate school assistantships at the health science center.

â??Our commitment to increasing the educational opportunities available for underrepresented minorities has been a longstanding one,â? said Thomas Yorio, PhD, dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and vice president for research at the health science center.

â??Since 1980, we have supported a variety of programs to increase the number of underrepresented and disadvantaged students entering careers in the biomedical and health sciences,â? he said. â??This program will help continue our commitment into the future.â?

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Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu.

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