Oct. 25-Nov. 7, 2002
Back Issues
Garry Wills takes his turn at writing U.Va. history
Headlines @ U.Va.
Lampkin named new VP

Wanted: Minority grad students

Faculty Actions -- from the October BOV meeting
New director has familiar face
The struggle to create the University -- excerpt from Mr. Jefferson’s University
Grounds Keeper
Nursing enrollment, ranking on the rise
Opportunity key to library’s outlook
‘With Good Reason’ turns 10
Talk maps out path of early explorations
Dove’s play debuts in C’ville
America’s global stature Levinson Lecture focus
Tears for the Earth
Bond package to spur research

Wanted: Minority grad students

Grant funds recruitment in neuroscience, biological timing

By Fariss Samarrai

Good faculty draw good students. Likewise, good graduate students attract good faculty.

U.Va. has long been successful at attracting bright undergraduates and top faculty. But more needs to be done to attract promising graduate students, particularly from minority groups, says Gene Block, vice president and provost.

A new grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke will help the University take a step in that direction.

The five-year $635,000 grant will help U.Va. and two partner institutions attract students from under-represented groups to graduate study, in particular to focus on neuroscience and biological timing.

At U.Va., faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences and Graduate School, the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering will participate in the grant. Collectively, the faculty have interests in temporal biology, the study of the mechanisms by which biological oscillations are generated and controlled.

“This is great news for the University,” Block said. “It's a step toward helping us increase participation of under-represented groups in the science pipeline.” Block, a professor of biology who specializes in biological timing, applied for the grant last year.

U.Va., the lead institution for this grant, will collaborate with Northwestern University and the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta to recruit undergraduate student candidates. They hope to attract students from a broad range of institutions, but will focus on undergraduates from colleges and universities with large minority enrollments.

“One of the great things about this grant is that once we fill our available training positions, we can request additional funds to expand the program,” Block said.
Students selected for the program will participate in the graduate program of their selected institution and can receive additional training at one of the other participating institutions. The program will provide research stipends and faculty mentors. Eventually the students will be steered onto graduate support on regular research grants under a faculty adviser.

“Our collaboration with Morehouse School of Medicine should be a great help in our student recruitment efforts,” Block said.

The Morehouse School of Medicine and Morehouse College are members of the Atlanta University Center, a consortium of historically African-American educational institutions in Atlanta. The center also includes Clark Atlanta University, Morris Brown College, Spellman College and others.

“By bringing top minority students to our graduate programs, we will, in the long run, recruit more top students, and likewise improve recruitment of minority faculty,” Block emphasized.

The National Institutes of Health are working to increase minority participation in the sciences through grants and other programs.

U.Va. and its partners in the NINDS grant were chosen because each has strong research programs in biological timing and neuroscience.



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