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$4.5 Million from NIH to Promote Diversity in Biomedical Research by Supporting Biomedical Postdoc Teacher and Research Training
July 17, 2007, Volume 54, No. 1

Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs (BPP) at the School of Medicine was recently awarded approximately $4.5 million for a training program “University of Pennsylvania Postdoctoral Opportunities in Research and Teaching (PENN-PORT).”  Funded by the Minority Opportunities in Research and Education (MORE) division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Institute for General Medical Sciences, PENN-PORT is one of 11 nationwide Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDAs) designed to offer biomedical postdoctoral trainees the opportunity to teach in local minority serving institutions, in addition to traditional research training. Postdocs will be teaching in minority serving partner institutions at Lincoln University or Rutgers-Camden. The School of Medicine's Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Research Training, Dr. Yvonne Paterson, is the Program Director.

PENN-PORT postdocs will receive teacher training from Co-Director Dr. Mary Beth Gasman at the Graduate School of Education. “PENN-PORT postdocs will receive a structured, mentored teaching training. Postdocs will attend a semester-long pedagogy seminar at Penn and then audit as well as teach a science course at the partner institution,” says Dr. Ivonne Vidal Pizarro at BPP who is also Co-Director. Dr. Paterson adds, “The long- term purpose of the MORE IRACDA programs is to encourage undergraduates from under-represented groups to pursue careers in biomedical research. The grant will also promote the postdoctoral research and teaching careers of postdoctoral trainees from under-represented groups who will provide role models of scientific excellence to their students.”

The program will recruit postdocs with a demonstrated commitment to teaching.  Fellows receive a stipend, benefits, and support for research supplies, course development supplies, and travel to attend two meetings. The tenure of each fellowship is three years.  Eligible postdocs must provide proof of doctoral degree and must be either U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents. The PENN-PORT program will admit five postdocs a year, starting in July 2007, and will thus support a total of 25 three-year fellowships over the five-year term of the grant.

For additional information on BPP, visit www.med.upenn.edu/postdoc/.

Almanac - July 17, 2007, Volume 54, No. 1