Campus: CSU Northridge -- October 19, 2005

CSUN Receives $2 Million to Encourage Students to Pursue Careers in Biomedical Research

Cal State Northridge's MARC program has received more than $2.7 million to continue its efforts to encourage historically underrepresented students to consider careers in biomedical research. The five-year grant for $2,729,454 was awarded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"This award provides opportunities not just for the students who are directly involved in the program, but it is actually going to change the way we teach biology for all of our students by giving us the resources to make our courses even more competitive," said CSUN biology professor Maria Elena Zavala, director of the MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) program.

The MARC program started at Cal State Northridge with only four students in 1990 with support from the NIH. The program, which has evolved in the MARC U* STAR (Undergraduate * Student Training in Academic Research), now has 14 students. Its goal is to increase the number of competitively prepared traditionally underrepresented minority students for research careers in the biomedical sciences.

The MARC program offers students the opportunity to participate in on-campus, long-term research projects. They also receive mentoring, research support, graduate school preparation support and a stipend to travel to scientific conferences to present their research results.

Zavala said CSUN's program has developed a reputation for success. Ten former Northridge MARC students have already earned their doctorates, and another 16 are currently in Ph.D. programs.

"CSUN has a strong reputation for producing students who go on to get their Ph.D.s in science, math, engineering and technology," Zavala said. "We really have a pipeline going here."

Carmen Ramos Chandler at 818-677-2130 or

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