Andrew J. Henderson, PhD, professor of medicine and microbiology and assistant dean of Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS), along with Fadie T. Coleman, PhD, assistant professor of medical sciences & education, have received a five-year, $1.4 million award from the National Institutes of Health National Institute of General Medical Sciences. This five-year grant will support BUSM’s Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (BU PREP).
The year-long preparatory program is for recent bachelor’s degree recipients seeking entry into competitive PhD training programs. It is designed to foster mentoring relationships that will enhance personal and scientific development for members of historically underrepresented groups in the biomedical sciences. Participants are paired with BUSM’s faculty, have access to state-of-the-art research facilities and work closely with an advising team to create an individualized career plan directed toward doctoral graduate school entry and success.
The curriculum includes seminars, workshops and courses. The program was initiated two years ago through help of GMS, BUSM and other training programs. During the first year, one participant was accepted into the PhD program at the University of California San Diego while the two other students found jobs in academic laboratories for additional experience. Three current students are interviewing for several PhD programs.
“We in GMS have always felt that this was an important part of the pipeline for STEM training,” explained Dr. Henderson. “I feel this is a part of my mission as an academic scientist is to participate in and create education opportunities in STEM for everybody whether through the lab, the classroom or with training programs.”
Dr. Henderson attended the University of California, Riverside where he earned his BS and MA in biology and his PhD in Biomedical Sciences. He performed his post-doctoral training at Columbia University.
“Mentoring is an important vehicle by which the talents of young scientists are developed and it’s critical to the process of training tomorrow’s workforce,” adds Dr. Coleman. “Programs like PREP offer access for under-represented students to be introduced to research and train with dedicated mentors for the opportunity to develop rewarding research careers.”
Dr. Coleman received her doctorate from the BUSM Department of Microbiology and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Boston Children’s Hospital in the Department of Pathology/Transfusion Medicine. She is the Director of the Biomedical Laboratory & Clinical Sciences Program jointly run through BUSM and Metropolitan College.