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Increasing diversity in labs goal of new grant to Yale

October 31, 2014

The ubiquitous white lab coats will remain the same, but the faces of the biomedical researchers wearing them will be more diverse, under a new initiative at Yale supported by a four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Yale is one of 31 universities to receive funding from the NIH under the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP), designed to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce.

The first five PREP participants at Yale — graduates of colleges with few resources to conduct science research — are working in labs at the university, learning how to develop their own hypotheses and to design experiments to test these hypotheses. They are also taking two Yale courses and participating in program-specific seminars and workshops as well as institutional training activities with beginning Yale graduate students in the biomedical sciences.

“Not only are we interested in potentially strong diverse prospective graduate students whose home institutions have few resources or opportunities to conduct research, but students who may not have realized their interest in scientific research until the latter part of their undergraduate years — thereby precluding them from taking advantage of research opportunities,” said Michelle Nearon, co-director of the Yale PREP.

“Our big goal is not only to increase numbers of under-represented minorities in sciences, but to have a positive effect on diversity at Yale as well,” said Carl Hashimoto, co-director of the Yale PREP with Nearon. “The hope is that some of these students will matriculate at Yale when they are done with the program.”

The NIH grant is worth $1.3 million for four years. Yale hopes to host seven students each of the next three years.

Submitted by Claire M. Bessinger - Van Graan on October 31, 2014