Alabama State University (ASU) is renewing its NIGMS-RISE program. The major objective of the program is
to increase the number of underrepresented minority students (URM) enrolling in PhD programs in biomedical
sciences. This renewal is significant, since the NIGMS-RISE program is the only program at ASU that provides
research training and PhD preparedness students in the MS program in biology with the highest potential of
entering PhD programs. With this rationale, our NIGMS-RISE program provides rigorous graduate curricula
emphasizing analytical and critical thinking, problem solving, mathematical skills, intense research training,
scientific writing and skills building through technical workshops and other extracurricular activities. All RISE
students are required to participate in summer research working with a research mentor at participating
research-intensive institutions. A team of 16 committed faculty mentors at ASU provides research training to
RISE students leading into a MS thesis. The research training is complemented with mentoring by 15 external
collaborators resulting in transition of ASU MS graduates into PhD programs at research-intensive institutions.
The second cycle will support five (5) MS students at ASU each year for a maximum support of two years. The
two specific aims with measureable objectives are:
Specific Aim #1: Enhance PhD preparedness of RISE participants through curricular and extracurricular
activities. Objectives are: 1) All RISE participants will participate in all RISE curricular and professional
activities, 2) All RISE participants will improve their GPA by 15%, 3) 100% of RISE participants will show
improvement in their writing skills, and 4) 100% participants will improve on their GRE scores by 10%.
Specific Aim #2: Provide rigorous research training to RISE students to complete the MS degree and ensure
their acceptance into PhD programs in biomedical sciences. Objectives are: 1) 100% of participants will
complete the MS degree within two years, 2) 100% of RISE participants will participate in summer research at
an external collaborator institution and all RISE sponsored curricular and professional activities, 3) Over 80%
of participants (4 out of 5) will be accepted in PhD programs in the biomedical sciences by the end of year 2 of
the MS program, and 4) 100% of participants will author one peer-reviewed publication.
We anticipate that through the NIGMS-RISE program, 12 African-American students will transition to PhD
programs in biomedical sciences.