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Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC)

Mentoring Young Minds to Increase Diversity in the Biomedical Research

Directors: Dr. Antonio De Maio / Dr. Mark Lawson
Communications Assistant: Barbara Rho
Pre-MARC Boot Camp Director: Dr. David M. Cauvi
Pre-MARC Boot Camp Instructor: Dennis Hawisher

The program “Mentoring Young Minds to Increase Diversity in ​Biomedical Research,” funded by the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), is directed at motivating, mentoring, and training students from underrepresented minority groups, disadvantaged economic and social backgrounds and with disabilities to pursue higher education at the level of Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences. 

The UCSD-MARC program is composed of two consecutive phases starting with a basic training laboratory called the Pre-MARC Boot Camp, where they learn the basic skills necessary to participate successfully in a research project. The Boot Camp experience is followed by participating in a hands-on research project under the mentorship of an internationally recognized investigator. In addition, scholars participate in academic development workshops, a short course on ethics in science, and scientific seminars and journal clubs. During the year prior to graduation, scholars are assisted by the program director in the preparation of a strong graduate school application.

Phase 1. Pre-MARC Boot Camp: Students with no or limited prior research experience are introduced to scientific work via fundamental experimental instruction within the Boot Camp (12 weeks, 8 hours per week). In this setting, students learn the essential research principles and skills (laboratory safety, basic techniques, data collection, and analysis) that will prepare them to participate in organized independent research projects.

Phase 2. Independent Research Project: Students participate in hands-on, bench research projects under the mentorship of established, well-funded investigators. Students are trained in several aspects of science, including experimental design, execution, data analysis, and presentations, which increase their competitiveness as graduate school candidates. Students participate in an independent research project as well as typical laboratory activities, such as group meetings and journal clubs. Students are encouraged to present their projects at national meetings or in peer-reviewed publications.

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MARC Application (PDF)