October 9, 2000
Grant links Emory with
By Holly Korschun
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded nearly $7 million over five years to Emory and five institutions within the Atlanta University Center (AUC) for an interdisciplinary postdoctoral training program.
The new program is designed to increase the quantity and quality of fellows entering careers in the biological and biomedical sciences and of teachers within undergraduate institutions serving minority students.
The award represents the largest postdoctoral training grant in Emory's history, according to Robert Gunn, chair of physiology in the School of Medicine and principal investigator for the grant.
The Emory-AUC grant, named PREP (Postdoctoral Research and Education Program), is one of four such grants in the United States that include top national research universities linked to top national minority-serving institutions.
The grant falls within the NIH's Institutional Research and Academic Career Develop-ment Program. PREP combines traditional interdisciplinary research education led by established laboratory investigators with a teaching mentorship that includes instruction in classroom methods and technologies, mentorship of undergraduates, course development and production of web-based courses.
The notion of coupling education with postdoctoral research in a teaching-focused program is a new venture for Emory and the AUC schools, according to Gunn.
"This grant provides an opportunity to enhance the relationship among the faculty, students and administration of the universities at the AU Center and Emory," Gunn said. "The PREP program should enable Emory and AUC institutions to attract and train excellent minority students who will be amenable to becoming faculty in Atlanta's undergraduate, minority-serving institutions. This will lay an important foundation for our future."
The grant will support postdoctoral fellows in their research for three years, with concurrent mentorship and instruction in pedagogy, course development and teaching practice. Students will team-teach a course with a fellow postdoctoral student and launch the course on the web.
The program will begin with support for 10 fellows in the first year, followed by 10 additional fellows during the next two years to reach a steady enrollment of 30 fellows.
Faculty in the PREP program are members of 13 biological sciences departments in the six schools. Emory physiologist Douglas Eaton is co-director of the program, and biologist Arri Eisen is teaching coordinator.
The executive committee also includes Isabella Finkelstein, Clark-Atlanta University; J. K. Haynes, Morehouse College; Pamela Gunter-Smith, Spelman College; David Potter, Morehouse School of Medicine; and Sobrasua Ibim, Morris Brown College.
Emory faculty represent the departments of microbiology and immunology, pathology, biology, physiology, biochemistry and cell biology.
Fellows will work with both a laboratory mentor at Emory or an AUC school, as well as with a teaching mentor at one of the undergraduate AUC schools.