Summer Research Program for Diversity Students in PharmacoNeuroImmunology

  • Hatsukami, Dorothy (CoPI)
  • Molitor, Thomas William (PI)
  • Roy, Sabita (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project Summary/Abstract The R25 Summer Research Program in PharmacoNeuroImmunology (PNI) provides 6 underrepresented undergraduate students of diversity each year an intensive laboratory-based research experience to increase their participation in biomedical graduate research programs. The R25 PNI program is a successful summer program which has trained 16 undergraduate students of diversity to date (additional 6 coming in the summer of 2020). The summer research program stems from our well-established NIDA-funded T32 PNI training program, which will provide engaged expert faculty mentors and a community of pre- and post-doctoral trainees to actively train and mentor the summer students supporting the mission of the PNI summer program. There is a well- recognized need to train biomedical scientists in an interdisciplinary and translational field that focuses on the interactions of drugs of abuse with the nervous and immune systems, and integrates our understanding of these physiological interactions with their behavioral counterparts. We will accomplish this by offering an intensive 10- week research experience that will provide qualified undergraduate students of diversity the necessary academic and research skills to ensure their competitiveness toward entering the next phases of their career - i.e., doctoral programs or medical school. The PNI summer program is part of the comprehensive Life Science Undergraduate Research Program (LSSURP) at the University of Minnesota. The PNI summer program is composed of an intensive laboratory-based research experience that entails close interaction with and mentorship by a program faculty member (n=31) that focuses on drug abuse research. This laboratory work is supplemented by a comprehensive educational curriculum, which includes seminars by program faculty on topics in biomedical research, ethics, and laboratory safety, and a focused student research poster symposium. An innovative component of our PNI program proposal is to deliver education modules with small group discussion. In addition, Dr. Jesse L. Mason, an alumnus of LSSURP and the T32 PNI training program, will provide a series of sessions for PNI summer students targeted toward dealing with adversity as a diverse student. To support the goal of the R25 Summer program, we propose two specific aims: 1) To provide an interdisciplinary structured research experience in the area of PNI, especially as it pertains to drug abuse; and 2) To provide skill sets for graduate careers in biomedical sciences. Those successful individuals will, in turn, act as role models for future students interested in research careers. Three measures of evaluation will be collected on a yearly basis: 1) Assessment of the 10 week summer research experience by participating undergraduate students and faculty in the program. This assessment will come in two ways from the LSSURP survey and a PNI specific survey; 2) The PNI program itself will be supported by the Advisory Committee to verify that we are meeting the goals of the program in diversity recruitment and effective research experience; and 3) Outcome assessment of the students that were in the program. We will track the careers in biomedical sciences of the past summer PNI trainees.
Effective start/end date7/1/165/31/22


  • National Institute On Drug Abuse: $55,125.00


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