Wanted: Minority grad students
Grant funds recruitment in neuroscience, biological
By Fariss Samarrai
faculty draw good students. Likewise, good graduate students attract
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
new grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders
and Stroke will help the University take a step in that direction.
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.
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
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
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
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.
collaboration with Morehouse School of Medicine should be a great
help in our student recruitment efforts, Block said.
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.
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.
National Institutes of Health are working to increase minority
participation in the sciences through grants and other programs.
and its partners in the NINDS grant were chosen because each has
strong research programs in biological timing and neuroscience.