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.
Application is open from Dec 1-Apr 1
For additional questions about the program, please contact the program directors:
PREP@musc.edu or at:
MUSC College of Graduate Studies
68 President St., BE 101
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
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