Meharry Medical College seeks funding to establish a Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences in
Cancer Program that primarily trains undergraduate students from racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally
underrepresented in health related sciences. Meharry Medical College is one of the largest historically black
academic health science centers in the United States that is dedicated to educating physicians and biomedical
researchers. It has a proven commitment to training underrepresented minorities, and is a leading producer of
African Americans with PhDs in biomedical sciences. Meharry has received federal funding to support a U54
Cancer Partnership and other programs to support the research training and education of students traditionally
underrepresented in biomedical research.
The proposed 10-week summer program will provide an intensive, hands-on cancer focused research
experience for undergraduate students and expose student participants to the area of cancer health disparities.
Research training will be provided by a diverse faculty consisting of experienced cancer investigators from
Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A nationwide search will be conducted to
identify and select 12-16 undergraduate students per year who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine
and biomedical science. Student research projects will focus on cancers which disproportionately affect
African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. In addition, each year student research projects will
include preclinical studies, clinical research, epidemiological and community based studies as well as
translational cancer research. Additional program enrichment activities will include a cancer biology mini-
course to teach students fundamental concepts common to all cancers. A weekly cancer biology/cancer health
disparities research seminar will allow students to interact with oncologists and cancer researchers from
groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedical science and to be exposed to career opportunities within
the areas of cancer research, oncology and cancer health disparities. Sessions on the responsible conduct of
research will be held on a biweekly basis. Students will also participate in career development workshops that
will allow students to explore career options, create individual development plans, and obtain information
needed to apply and successfully gain entrance into M.D. and Ph.D. training programs.
At the end of the 10-week program, students will have an opportunity to create oral and poster presentations
describing their research and present their research findings internally during the Meharry Summer Cancer
Research Symposium and externally at one national conference. Program directors and staff will track
participants through their undergraduate and post graduate training to evaluate the extent to which program
goals were met, and identify areas for improvement. Evaluations from research mentors and undergraduate
program directors/chairs will also be used to assess and improve the program.