2013 Summer Research Sets Students on the Road to Grad School

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"Most of our SRTP students go on to obtain PhD and professional degrees, many here at UCSF. I often hear back from former students about how seminal this program was in their career trajectory," said Dr. Carol Gross, faculty advisor and founder of the SRTP program.


This year, 47 undergraduate students from around the country and Puerto Rico participated in the Graduate Division’s annual Summer Research Training Program (SRTP). The participants, all promising students planning to earn a PhD in the health sciences, spent ten weeks doing hands-on research under the supervision of UCSF faculty members. The SRTP students were mentored by postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. In addition to their research, the students participated in seminars, workshops, and social events, which created a cohesive community of young researchers. In the last week of the program, they presented their research projects at oral and poster sessions which were open to the entire UCSF community, and prizes were awarded for the best presentations. Six UCSF graduate students, some of whom were SRTP alumni, served as graduate student advisors, ran journal clubs, and coached the students in preparing their final presentations.

The goal of SRTP is to give motivated students the opportunity to conduct graduate level research at a tier-one institution and to provide them with a clear path to graduate level study. "Most of our SRTP students go on to obtain PhD and professional degrees, many here at UCSF. I often hear back from former students about how seminal this program was in their career trajectory," said Dr. Carol Gross, faculty advisor and founder of the SRTP program.

Before diving into rigorous lab work, this year’s summer students were treated to a welcome dinner at the home of Graduate Dean and Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs Elizabeth Watkins. Faculty presentations were among the highlights of the Summer Program: Nobel Prize Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, MacArthur Fellow Joe DeRisi, and other top UCSF faculty gave research talks and presentations exclusively for the summer students.

This year's 47 SRTP students were selected from a pool of over 700 applicants. This highly accomplished, diverse group came from 33 universities, ranging from large R-1 institutions to small schools, both in and out of state. This year’s group included students from seven UC campuses, five California State University campuses, and two HBCUs (Historically Black and Colleges and Universities).

“This was a very hard working, energetic, and friendly group of students from a range of backgrounds. The quality of their final presentations was phenomenal, it is impressive how much they achieved in just ten weeks. They were thrilled to have the opportunity to have an in-depth experience at UCSF. They commented on how much independence they had to design their research projects and they especially appreciated the mentoring they received from their PIs, postdoctoral mentors, lab groups, and the SRTP graduate student advisors,” said Michele De Coteau, assistant dean for graduate programs and outreach.

Many UCSF Faculty are key advocates for SRTP and host students every year. The program is administered and managed by the UCSF Graduate Division. The Graduate Division uses several strategies to recruit applicants, one of which is to bring a core group of faculty, students and staff to national conferences like SACNAS and ABRCMS, which seek to increase participation by underrepresented students in the sciences.

The 2013 Summer Research Training Program was funded by Amgen, Genentech, Gonzaga University, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institute on Drug Addiction, UC Berkeley’s MARC program, the UC LEADS program, and REU grants from faculty members Carol Gross (Bio REU) and Tracy Richmond McKnight (Tuskegee University Partnership).

Interested in applying for the 2014 Summer Program? Applications will be accepted starting in November 2013. Read more about the program and learn how to apply.

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Story by Jeannine Cuevas