Student Research Programs
Our Institute runs outreach and research programs at several educational levels. The following provides a summary of our pipeline research programs for high school and undergraduate students, including the JUMPSTART and UGRAP programs, which are run by our Office of Diversity and are directed towards minority students. There are also significant research opportunities for comprehensive research training available to undergraduate students. The CURIOUS program particularly provides an intense research experience in a field of research that has been growing on our campus and now represents over half the NIH funding on campus, alongside a strong career development component that is unlike any other program currently offered.
We currently have three high school research programs with varying degrees of time commitment for the students. Together these programs offer research opportunities to approximately 30 students per year from local high schools.
- Jumpstart Summer Enrichment Program: Designed to encourage students to pursue careers in medicine, research or allied health professions, the eight-week Jumpstart Summer Enrichment Program exposes students to intense hands-on research activities conducted by the Office of Diversity Affairs, LSU Health Shreveport faculty serve as program mentors. The experience is in either a research laboratory or clinical setting for 40 hours per week. Students are also provided weekly supplemental enrichment activities, which include: library, hospital, and animal care tours, lectures by health care professionals and motivational films. At the end of the program, students present the results of their research projects at a poster session, which demonstrates their scientific writing skills and ability to evaluate scientific data.
- Biostart Program: The Biostart Program was initially funded by a SEPA grant to Dr. Kenneth McMartin in the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology, & Neuroscience, and is now funded locally by the Biomedical Research Foundation. One of the goals of the program is to enhance the education of an underserved community in Shreveport. To meet this goal, students are recruited from the Biotechnology Program at Southwood High School, with 8-10 students participating each year. To date, approximately half of the 65 participants have been minority students (predominantly African-American). In addition to research time each morning during the fall semester, the students attend a lecture series on laboratory skills and responsible conduct in research. They also participate in a hands-on science day for 160 8th grade students from our area to help promote STEM education. The program ends with a poster presentation.
- Science & Medicine Academic Research Training Program (SMART): The SMART program provides academically advanced high school seniors who are interested in careers related to medicine, scientific research, and biomedical engineering opportunities to engage in intensive research with medical clinicians, researchers, and academic staff. Funded by the BRF since its inception in 1997, 217 students have been trained in this program. The students enter into the lab full-time over the summer before senior year (a stipend is provided), and then come to the lab for at least 10 hours per week for the entire senior year (they receive high school science credit). Based on tracking performed in 2012, all of the students attended undergraduate university, with 79% obtaining degrees with science majors. 80% of those employed worked in science/health related fields.
Our summer research programs for undergraduates are CURIOUS, UGRAP and SUPER-SURF.
- Cardiovascular Undergraduate Research Initiative fOr Underrepresented Students (CURIOUS)
The Center of Excellence for Cardiovascular Diseases and Sciences is excited to introduce our new CURIOUS Program. The CURIOUS program is a NIH-funded 8-week summer research program in cardiovascular disease for undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing research as part of their scientific or clinical career goals. Our principle investigators, who will serve as mentors, lead research programs in several focus areas including: atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, peripheral artery disease, microvascular dysfunction in response to cardiovascular disease risk factors, stroke and the vascular/heart-brain axis.
- Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (UGRAP)
This program is sponsored by the Office of Diversity Affairs at LSU Health Shreveport. The program attracts students from undergraduate campuses throughout Louisiana and neighboring states, all of whom are Louisiana residents interested in medicine, biomedical research or allied health professions. It provides an 8-week research experience where students are placed in laboratories of research mentors and are exposed to different experiences related to both research and clinical careers.
- Summer Undergraduate Pharmacology Experience in Research (SUPER)
The SUPER program is geared specifically to students interested in pharmacology research and is funded by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Summer undergraduate research fellowship, the LSU Health Sciences Foundation and the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Neuroscience. This program is a highly competitive with an average of 54 applicants per year over the last two years, and an average of five participants per year. Nearly half (48%) of the 25 students trained through this program between 2013-2017 were minorities, suggesting there is strong interest from minority students in such focused research programs. Furthermore, outcomes for the SUPER program are positive, with 60% of the students pursuing an academic career within the realm of science and medicine, suggesting experience in focused training programs are effective at retaining students in the biomedical field.