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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / December 2016 / More Opportunities to BUILD Diversity at the University

More Opportunities to BUILD Diversity at the University

Young African American Female student with mentor in laboratoryResearchers can help build diversity at the University of Rochester by developing new faculty collaborations or hosting undergraduate students for summer research training through a partnership with Xavier University of Louisiana, a Historically Black University. These opportunities raise the visibility of UR among minority scholars, which boosts our potential to attract more diverse graduate students and faculty, making this a mutually beneficial partnership.

The partnership was born out of the NIH’s Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) program, which was designed to study and implement innovative ways to attract and retain students from diverse backgrounds in the biomedical research workforce.  Xavier is one of ten primary institutions in the BUILD network, which collectively collaborate with nearly 100 other institutions, including the University of Rochester.

These partnerships broaden research training opportunities for students and foster research collaborations with faculty from under-represented groups, while enriching the research communities of partner institutions by increasing their diversity. BUILD network institutions and their partners can also share effective interventions and programs that promote diversity in the biomedical research workforce – like Xavier’s new program, Project PATHWAYS.

Xavier developed Project PATHWAYS to integrate career services, academic advising, tutoring, and personal counseling into their existing programs for under-represented students pursuing a career in biomedical research. The program aims to better prepare these students for graduate or professional degree programs by improving curricula in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), providing more biomedical research opportunities, and offering support and guidance to faculty research mentors to help them provide maximally beneficial research experiences.

Recent Xavier BUILD scholar projects range from investigating diabetes drugs and possible novel molecular targets for cancer to understanding respiratory processes in different microorganisms. Current faculty collaboration projects examine different aspects of breast and prostate cancer, age-related macular degeneration, hepatitis, respiratory electron flow, and hereditary spastic paraplegia. These studies aim to test novel therapies, probe for new drug targets, develop new technologies, and include current collaborations with Tulane University and Louisiana State University.

With such broad ranging areas of focus, Xavier BUILD scholar and faculty research projects are likely to overlap with those of UR faculty. To investigate your potential for collaboration, visit UR’s Diversity at the University page for the full list of Xavier research projects.

To develop a collaboration or host a student, please contact Ashley N. Campbell.

Michael Hazard | 12/13/2016

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