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Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP Program)

The University of Rochester Medical Center School of Medicine and Dentistry (URMC SMD) continually strives to diversify student and faculty populations and thus to increase the number of graduate students currently underrepresented in the biomedical and health sciences. The Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) is designed to encourage underrepresented minorities who hold a recent baccalaureate degree in the biomedically-relevant sciences, to pursue a research doctorate, and to prepare these trainees for careers as outstanding research scientists and leaders in the biomedical community.

Program Directors, Dr. Jacques Robert & Dr. Elaine Smolock, are faculty in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology Our experience with the administrative and scientific aspects of graduate education provides us with a broad and unique perspective that makes us especially effective in our role as Program Directors.

Please review our online Trainee Handbook.

To learn more about career development opportunities, visit our Center for Professional Development website.

Program Goals

The Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at the University of Rochester has three specific objectives, which are as follows:

  1. To create a supportive, productive, and exciting environment, in which trainees will conduct outstanding research in microbiology and immunology, while working as full-time laboratory technicians under the supervision of a program faculty member. This will be achieved by bringing together a highly interactive and experienced group of well-funded faculty concerned with the advancement of underrepresented minority trainees, whose research interests span a diverse range of topics, and whose laboratories use a wide array of experimental approaches.
  2. To provide high quality educational opportunities, that will prepare trainees for future doctoral studies. To this end, each trainee will perform an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor. In addition, an individual plan of study will be developed for each PREP participant, tailored specifically to meet the individual needs of that trainee. This will include a small number of carefully selected courses, designed to allow trainees to (a) receive necessary instruction in specific skills/areas, (b) demonstrate their academic preparedness for doctoral studies, and (c) to gain academic credit towards the Ph.D. at the University of Rochester.
  3. To create a highly enriched learning environment, with strong peer support. Enrichment activities will include instruction in scientific communication skills, attendance at national scientific meetings, participation in an annual retreat/symposium, and the opportunity to select, invite and meet with extramural seminar speakers. Finally the trainees will be provided with opportunities for social interaction and networking with one another, and they will have access to peer mentors for collegiality, collaborations and, if needed, personal tutoring.