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New Postbaccalaureate to PhD Program launches next summer at UTSW

Initiative enhances research experience for undergrads to prepare them for graduate school

The Postbaccalaureate to PhD Program will provide research experience to help prepare participants for graduate school.

Recent college graduates who want to pursue biomedical research but need additional training can get support to achieve their goals through a new Postbaccalaureate to PhD (PB2PHD) Program launching next year at UT Southwestern.

The PB2PHD Program of one to two years focuses on recent college graduates who want to strengthen their skills and increase their competitiveness for admission to graduate school or an M.D./Ph.D. program, said Arnaldo Díaz Vázquez, Ph.D., Program Director and Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Applications are currently being accepted for the PB2PHD Program, which begins in June.

Man wearing blue suit and tie
Arnaldo Díaz Vázquez, Ph.D.

“The Program targets students who need more experience in doing research before applying to graduate school,” Dr. Díaz Vázquez said. “The goal is to help these students move into a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. program and ultimately make the transition into the biomedical science workforce.”

Funding the program is a $300,000 grant from the Communities Foundation of Texas, which since 1953 has provided more than $2 billion in grants to support education, health care, public safety, social services, animal care, and the arts.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of diversifying the biomedical research field by investing in UT Southwestern’s Postbaccalaureate to PhD program,” said Sarah Cotton Nelson, Communities Foundation’s Chief Philanthropy Officer. “We know that supporting the development of medical professionals from all backgrounds helps to decrease health disparities and build thriving communities for all.”

An applicant must be an American citizen or permanent U.S. resident with a baccalaureate degree in a biomedically relevant basic science from an accredited college or university that was awarded no more than 36 months prior to applying. “Students from underrepresented populations in biomedical science as defined by the National Institutes of Health are encouraged to apply,” Dr. Díaz Vázquez said.

A stipend/research assistantship of $35,000 per year allows students to focus on their research training rather than outside employment, Dr. Díaz Vázquez said. Individual health insurance, support to attend a scientific conference, and tuition and fees also will be provided. Students may apply for a second year in the Program, contingent on performance during the first year and availability of funding.

Students in the Program will work in a UTSW laboratory on research that matches their scientific interests, take graduate-level courses, and receive formal training in responsible research conduct. Academic and professional development activities tailored to the student’s specific individual needs – such as scientific seminars, scientific writing, and interview skills – also will be offered. The Program culminates with the students presenting their work at UT Southwestern and at a national scientific conference.

Students will have access to more than 350 full-time faculty at UTSW who maintain active research programs in disciplines that include genomics, cancer biology, computational biology, developmental biology, biomedical engineering, molecular genetics, structural biology, cell biology, chemical biology, systems biology, pharmacology, microbiology, neurosciences, immunology, and organic chemistry.

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