Skip Navigation
MUSC mobile menu
College of Graduate Studies
  • Ph.D. student in lab



  • Clyburn Plaza on the campus of MUSC



  • Faculty mentoring studetns



  • Recent graduates



Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program

Program starts once per year on June 1st

Post-baccalaureate Research Education Programs are funded by the NIH at selected universities around the United States with the goal of increasing the diversity of the biomedical research workforce, which in turn will be better equipped to address and reduce health disparities.

MUSC PREP provides a one-year intensive research and professional development program for individuals with a keen interest in pursuing a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences.  Participants will engage full time in activities to ready themselves for graduate school and a career in scientific research.  Individuals accepted into the program will be full-time employees of the Medical University of South Carolina starting June 1st, and receive salary support and benefits for 12 months.


This program is designed to enhance the success of participants in Ph.D. programs and beyond in their research careers, but please note that successful completion of this program is in no way a guarantee of an interview or acceptance into a Ph.D. program at MUSC or anywhere else.

Components of the program include:


  • A hands-on introduction to benchwork techniques summer course
  • Hypothesis-driven laboratory research project with experience, dedicated mentors

Professional development:

  • Individualized professional development plans and personalized coaching sessions extending into graduate school
  • Workshops and numerous presentation opportunities to improve scientific communication skills
  • Travel to national scientific conference
  • Preparation for the GRE exam, graduate school applications and interviews
  • Graduate level coursework and research ethics training


  • Inclusion in a diverse, vibrant community of biomedical scientists at all levels of training
  • Monthly research meetings with current Ph.D. students from underrepresented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Career exploration and networking with Ph.D.s in traditional and nontraditional career paths
  • Activities to share the PREP Scholar experience with family

Requirements to Apply

  1. You must be a US Citizen, National, or Permanent Resident.
  2. You must have graduated or be in the process of graduating with a baccalaureate degree in a biomedical relevant science, from an accredited US college or University, no more than 36 months before your expected matriculation into the PREP program, and not be currently enrolled in a graduate degree program.
  3. You must belong to a group considered to be underrepresented in the field of biomedical research by virtue of race/ethnicity, disability or disadvantaged background (socially, culturally, economically or educationally).  Nationally, racial and ethnic groups who have been found to be underrepresented in biomedical research include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic/Chicano/Latino(a) Americans, Native American/American Indians, Alaska Natives, Mainland Puerto Rican, or Native Pacific Islander [American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, Melanesia, Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Palau, or the Philippines].

Application to the MUSC PREP Program

Application is open from Dec 1-Apr 1

For additional questions about the program, please contact the program directors: or at:

MUSC College of Graduate Studies
68 President St., BE 101
MSC 501
Charleston, SC

Meet our Current PREP Scholars

Victoria Alers graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with Leadership Distinction in Research. While obtaining her undergraduate degree, she volunteered in Dr. Mythreye Karthikeyan’s cell signaling and cancer biology lab focused on transforming growth factor beta-regulated cancer progression. During her time in PREP she will work under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Carroll investigating genetic and molecular mechanisms of neuropathology. She hopes to pursue a research career in cancer discovery bioinformatics.



Luis Aponte-Cofresi grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology. Luis worked in Dr. Jimenez’s lab at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus and was part of the MARC program where he wrote his senior thesis on HCN Channel Distribution on Dopaminergic Neurons of the Ventral Tegmental Area. As part of the NSF grant PIRE, Luis spent a summer in Italy where he received the training necessary to work on his senior thesis. During the summer of 2017, Luis worked in the lab of Dr. Peter Kalivas at the Medical University of South Carolina on  the effects of N-acetylcysteine during transient cue-induced heroin seeking. This year in MUSC PREP, he will continue his neuroscience focus in the laboratory of Dr. Heather Boger.



Alexis Erasta Carey is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated valedictorian with a B.S. in Biology from Clark Atlanta University in May 2018. As an undergraduate, Alexis was selected to present her research studies on a combination treatment for castration-resistant prostate cancer in a keynote talk at MUSC’s annual E.E. Just Symposium. At this symposium she discovered PREP here at MUSC. Alexis has high aspirations to contribute to the scientific community not only through a career in biomedical research but also through an academic career by teaching the next generation of scientists.  




Nicolas Gray Shealy (Nic) grew up in Columbia, SC. He graduated from the College of Charleston with a B.S. in Biology and a Chemistry minor in 2018. During his undergraduate career, he did research in natural products drug discovery with Mark T. Hamann PhD, extracting and analyzing the secondary metabolites of bacterial species including Akkermansia municiphila. He also participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at MUSC in 2017. Under the mentorship of Amy D. Bradshaw PhD, Nic investigated post-translational modification of extracellular matrix proteins. He is continuing his work with Dr. Bradshaw during his PREP year where he will examine pathogen modifications to the human host ECM that could elucidate disease modalities. 



Delenn Solis is originally from Dallas, Texas.  She earned a B.A. in Neuroscience at Reed College in Portland, Oregon in May 2018. Her first exposure to the scientific research world occurred in the summer of her junior year at the University of Oregon, where she studied local and global visual processing in relation to autistic traits under the guidance of Dr. Paul Dassonville. Inspired by this research, Delenn spent her senior year back at Reed College studying local/global processing in grapheme-color synesthetes under the supervision of Dr. Michael Pitts. She will be joining Dr. Jane Joseph’s lab this year, to study the effects of social skills training on people with autism, both at the neural and behavioral level, and how brain stimulation can augment these effects. In the future, Delenn hopes to obtain a Ph.D. in neuroscience, after which she would like to study visual perception in people with various conditions, with a focus on the neuroimaging of socio-emotional processing in people with autism. 




Darian Thomas is a PREP scholar from Spartanburg, South Carolina. In May 2018, she graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in Genetics. While obtaining her undergraduate degree she volunteered in the lab of Dr. James Morris where she investigated the effects that small molecule inhibitors have on the metabolism of parasites of the Plasmodium genus. During her year in PREP, she will work under the mentorship of Dr. Amanda LaRue where she will investigate the role of hematopoietic stem cells in obesity and breast cancer progression.  Darian hopes that her experience in the PREP program will prepare her for a career in the field of translational research. She hopes to obtain her PhD in Biomedical Sciences. 



The following websites may be of interest:

Estimated costs of living for South Carolina can be found on the MUSC website here:

Individual Development Plans

NIH Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity

Postdoctoral Information

Information for Minorities in Science

The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science

Southern Regional Education Board (has a doctoral scholarship program)

The Association of Underrepresented Minority Fellows

UNCF/MERCK Science Initiative

View MUSC's Facebook page Follow MUSC on Twitter View the MUSC Health Youtube channel Read the MUSC Health blog circle arrow MUSC_TAG_SOLID_1C