UMES receives $1.3 million NIH science education grant

  • Somerset County high school students are the beneficiaries

    Thursday, August 29, 2019

    Adel Karara and Anjan Nan - professors in UMES' School of Pharmacy - have secured a $1.3 million grant funded by the Science Education Partnership Award program administered by the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health. 

    The award will be used over the next five years in partnership with Somerset County public schools to provide its high school students - especially minority and under-served students - with hands-on experiences in drug discovery and biomedical research. 

    Working closely with Somerset County educators, UMES School of Pharmacy faculty developed hands-on training labs that are being integrated with biomedical instruction offered at the high schools. 

    Overall, the expected outcome is a research training program designed to stimulate students' interest in and pursuit of pharmaceutical, health-related and biomedical research careers, ultimately enhancing the diversity of the biomedical research workforce. 

    An inaugural one-week summer camp in July on the UMES campus introduced 23 students to the rigors and expectations they could expect to experience if they choose to pursue a career in health care. 

    Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, those students will continue to have multiple opportunities to interact with experienced UMES scientists who specialize in biomedical / pharmaceutical research. 

    Dr. John Gaddis, Somerset County's superintendent, said the partnership with UMES “opens another door for our students.”

    “We're thrilled about the exposure they'll be getting,” Gaddis said, “as well as the professional development opportunities for our teachers.” 

    Each student will go through a two-year cycle in the program that includes the summer camp as well as several meetings during the school year. The program will be able to accommodate approximately 50 students annually. 

    Additionally, the high school students will be mentored by a group of pharmacy graduate students who will provide on-going support to encourage the program participants to keep them focused on moving forward with their science career plans - and provide them guidance on college readiness. 

    Karara and Nan are hopeful the Somerset County school partnership will focus attention on biomedical/pharmaceutical sciences and health professions programs like those offered at UMES while improving participants' chances for gaining college admission to pursue degrees in pharmacy, health professions and research-focused biomedical programs. 

    “Having our students on the UMES campus is such a shot in the arm and a validation that our bio-med program is on the right track,” Gaddis said.