UNTHSC nurtures scientists at summer research intern program

Twenty-seven undergraduate scientists from across the U.S. have been hard at work this summer learning to conduct biomedical research as part of the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program.

The annual summer outreach programs —Summer Multicultural Advanced Research Training Program (SMART); Summer Training Among Research Scientists Program (STARS); and the HBCU Undergraduate Collaborative Summer Training Program in Prostate Cancer — are designed to familiarize undergraduate students with the varied disciplines and methodologies used in biomedical research and are sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program and the Joe and Jessie Crump Foundation for Medical Research through JPMorgan Bank, respectively. Each initiative gives undergraduate students a chance to gain experience in a research laboratory under the supervision of faculty and senior graduate students. Participants are selected in open competition.

“These programs are one element of a coordinated plan to increase the number of under-represented minorities in biomedical education and research,” said Harlan Jones, PhD, Assistant Dean of Recruitment and Outreach for the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. “Providing experiences in cutting-edge research with our faculty has proven very successful in increasing the number and diversity of highly qualified students entering career paths in biomedical research and health professions.”

The summer program concluded this past week with formal presentations designed to show what participants accomplished during the summer as well as a keynote address. This year’s speaker was Bessie Kebarra, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology from Baylor University, who shared her personal journey into a research career.

RISE is a developmental program through the National Institutes of Health that seeks to increase the capacity of students underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences to complete doctorate degrees in these fields. The program provides grants to institutions with a commitment to and history of developing students from populations underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences as defined by the National Science Foundation.

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