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FIRST fellowship program proves worthy model for training faculty in biological sciences

ATLANTA--A postdoctoral fellowship program that combines training in research and teaching within a five-school Atlanta consortium has successfully launched faculty careers in the biological sciences for 8 of its graduates and is continuing to train 31 current fellows. The Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching (FIRST) program, is a collaboration among Emory University and four historically minority-serving institutions within the Atlanta University Center (AUC). Funded by a five-year grant of nearly $7 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the FIRST program is training postgraduates to become researchers and college teachers in the biological sciences.

A report on the program's first four years will be presented on February 13 in Seattle at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) by Triscia Hendrickson, PhD, a FIRST postdoctoral fellow in Cell Biology. The presentation will be part of a symposium on "Building Capacity for Equity and Success: Opportunities for Diversifying Science".

The Emory-AUC FIRST consortium is one of six such programs in the U.S., each of which includes nationally top-ranked minority-serving institutions as equal partners with a nationally ranked research institution. The four AUC institutions are Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Morehouse College and Spelman College. Half of the current group of 31 fellows are members of minorities. The FIRST program will fund up to 33 postgraduate fellows this year. Currently there are five former FIRST fellows in tenure-track positions at colleges and universities.

In addition to the original NIH grant, the National Institute of Human Genome Research at the NIH has independently funded two Atlanta FIRST fellows in the area of genomics and bioinformatics positions that were filled by African-American women whose PhD degrees were in these areas.

The FIRST program aims to significantly in
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Contact: Ron Sauder
rsauder@emory.edu
404-727-3366
Emory University Health Sciences Center
13-Feb-2004


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