SUMMER PHYSIOLOGY UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHER (SPUR) PROGRAM - The Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Texas Health San Antonio (UTHSA) has recruited undergraduates including underrepresented minorities (URMs) to apply to our Summer Physiology Undergraduate Researcher (SPUR) Program for over two decades. Through laboratory research experience, SPUR students learn to apply cutting-edge research techniques, develop scientific communication skills and learn about responsible conduct of research. These attributes build undergraduate proficiency and confidence in research. Despite increased interest in pursuing careers in biomedical sciences, URM and underprivileged students are only half as likely as non-URMs to complete Bachelors degrees and/or to become part of the biomedical research workforce. Under the proposed R25 SPUR Program, URM science undergraduates entering their junior and senior years will be actively recruited nationally and through partnerships with five minority and Hispanic-serving Institutions in San Antonio via referrals from local faculty mentors. Our partner Institutions (St. Mary's University, Trinity University, University of the Incarnate Word, Texas A&M University at San Antonio and Our Lady of the Lake University) do not offer graduate training programs in biomedical neurosciences; but have diverse student populations reflecting the ethnic (64% Hispanic, 7% Black, 3% Asian, 1% Native American) and socioeconomic diversity of San Antonio, with 50-70% being first generation undergraduates. Although these local Institutions have high percentages of URM science majors, very few pursue careers in biomedical research creating a gap in the pipeline of URM-students entering the scientific research workforce. The main objective of our R25 Program is to fill this gap by providing research experience and mentoring to encourage more URM undergraduates to use the SPUR opportunity as a launching platform for careers in biomedical sciences. R25 SPUR students will participate in laboratory research for 40 hours/week for 10 weeks. In addition, students will have lectures on fundamentals of neuroscience and neurological disorders, receive training in responsible conduct of research and learn about scientific communications. SPUR Program mentors will participate in a mentor-training workshop focused on awareness of URM barriers to success, techniques for effective mentoring and enhancing mentors’ abilities to nurture students from diverse backgrounds. At the end of the 10-week Program, students will write a final report and present their findings at a Departmental symposium. The R25 SPUR Program will be evaluated and feedback collected to make improvements in the Program, ensuring its continued success. Thus, our efforts through this summer Program will contribute to building a diverse biomedical research workforce, a core mission of the NINDS R25 Program.