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Nanomedicine Academy for Minorities

September 29, 2015

CAS Distinguished Professor Srinivas Sridhar and ChE Professor & Chair Thomas Webster were awarded a $496K NSF grant to develop a "Nanomedicine Academy of Minority Serving Institutions". Along with partnering institutions Tuskegee University, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, Morgan State University and Florida International University, the group's mission is "To translate cutting-edge advances in nanomedicine research into an evidence-based education program that attracts and retains graduate students from underrepresented minority populations.".

Abstract Source: NSF

Nanomedicine is an emerging paradigm that seeks to develop engineered nanometer size particles to solve key problems in modern medicine, such as early diagnosis of disease and targeted delivery of therapeutics. This field is exciting to students and there is worldwide demand for training in this area. This National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) award in the Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) track to Northeastern University will translate cutting-edge advances in nanomedicine research into an education model to pilot and test a scalable, interactive network that empowers low-resource institutions to build capacity in nanomedicine training and develop degree programs in this emerging field. This project will create a reciprocal knowledge-sharing relationship among a large national pool of students across five institutions. The successful implementation of this new model of higher education is expected to broaden the participation of minorities in the nanomedicine workforce thus reducing disparities in the health workforce, establish new degree programs, and serve as a blueprint for the creation of similar education programs in other disciplines.

The goal of the project is to create a scalable network for knowledge delivery and scientific collaboration that is designed to enable student learning from expert instructors as well as from peers unrestricted by geographical location. The partners include five research universities with a tradition of providing higher education to underrepresented communities ? Northeastern University, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, Tuskegee University, Morgan State University, and Florida International University. The project will offer synchronous content through live, web-based videoconferencing protocols, allowing students to interact with instructors and peers at other universities in real-time. A parallel enterprise-level online learning environment will be created to enable team-based discussions and assignments. Courses to be offered include Introduction to Nanomedicine, Nanomedicine Research Techniques, Nano/Biomedical Commercialization, and a Nanomedicine Seminar Series. Faculty facilitators at each institution will coordinate the physical and online classroom environments, contribute to cross-institutional assignments, and provide supplementary instruction. Students will receive degree credit at their home institution through the establishment of course-equivalency at each partner institution. The implementation of these learning tools, together with the assessment of student learning, student demographics, and career development, is expected to generate sufficient new knowledge to enable expansion of this new and unique higher education model to a nationwide program.

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, potentially transformative, and scalable models for STEM graduate education training. The Innovations in Graduate Education Track is dedicated solely to piloting, testing, and evaluating novel, innovative, and potentially transformative approaches to graduate education.

This work is supported, in part, by the EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field. Investments are made in critical areas that are essential, broad and enduring: STEM learning and STEM learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development.