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Excellence in Cardiovascular Sciences Summer Research

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The renewal of this R25?Excellence in Cardiovascular Sciences (EICS) program--will continue to provide short-term training for undergraduate students of diverse backgrounds, focusing on research training related to the cardiovascular system with an emphasis on teams of investigators involved in translational research. This approach takes advantage of the broad, multidisciplinary cardiovascular research ongoing at Wake Forest School of Medicine (WFSM), with areas of expertise in hypertension, diabetes/obesity, aging/development and cardiac, renal and vascular diseases. Faculty from Hypertension & Vascular Research, the Cardiovascular Sciences Center, the Center for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, and the Departments of Physiology/Pharmacology, Cardiology, Public Health Science, Pathology and Biochemistry participate as Research Mentors, many of whom have participated in the program for 20-24 years. The trainees will be students under-represented in biomedical sciences, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, or those with disabilities wishing to pursue a biomedical research project. The overall objectives remain to 1) introduce students to biomedical research through hands-on participation in a research project; 2) introduce students to critical scientific evaluation by participating in a cardiovascular journal club; 3) provide experience in scientific writing and speaking through presentation of the research project as a poster; 4) provide exposure to research faculty, both basic science and clinical; 5) foster a long-term commitment to pursue a career in the biomedical sciences through an experience that exemplifies the excitement and challenges of clinically relevant investigation; 6) provide exposure to diverse career opportunities by bi-weekly faculty chats with Career Mentors; 7) facilitate matriculation into biomedical graduate programs by providing information on applying to graduate school and taking the GRE examination; 8) provide an in-depth formal evaluation of the mentees by their Research Mentors; 9) provide a written evaluation of journal club presentations; and 10) provide hands-on demonstration of state-of-the-art devices to measure cardiovascular parameters. A new objective for the renewal will include a writing workshop, to develop and hone writing skills. Approximately 80% of the former participants in the program who have finished their undergraduate degrees matriculated to graduate, medical, teaching or industrial technical positions. Furthermore, ~11% of the participants have continued their association with WFSM as PhD students, medical students or technical/post-bac students; three EICS students from the last cycle participated in the WFSM post-baccalaureate program (PREP) and three EICS students are currently PhD students in our graduate program. These statistics demonstrate the continued success of the EICS program and its primary focus of providing training to under-represented minorities to facilitate their matriculation into post-graduate programs and their careers in biomedical research.
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