SAN ANTONIO PROGRAM FOR UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN RENAL SCIENCE (SPURRS)
This proposal seeks to establish a summer research program, the San Antonio Program for UndergraduateResearch in Renal Science (SPURRS) at the University of Texas Health San Antonio Long School of Medicineto attract promising undergraduate students and recent graduates from diverse backgrounds to pursue careersin kidney research. Kidney disease affects approximately 15-20% of the US population and accounts for ~16%of Medicare expenditures each year. New therapies to stem the suffering and expense associated with kidneydisease have been slow to develop and will require a robust, diverse research workforce. At the same time,interest in nephrology careers has plummeted, with the number of applicants for nephrology training programsdropping substantially below the number of training positions available. Efforts are desperately needed tocultivate the next generation of kidney researchers and reverse this trend. The Aim of the proposed Program isto address this need by providing outstanding and motivated undergraduate students with an immersive 10week mentored summer research experience supplemented by a kidney research and career developmentcurriculum. At the end of their research experience, students will present the results of their projects to theirpeers from the other R25 centers and NIDDK officials at the annual Summer Student Research Symposium.Together, these activities will expose students to the exciting world of kidney research and provide them with aknowledge base, critical thinking skills, personal development tools and an enthusiasm for discovery. Theseattributes are critical for their development into biomedical researchers and contributing to the future ofnephrology, which is the long term goal of SPURRS. The Aims of the proposal are to: 1. Recruit a cohort ofhighly qualified and enthusiastic students, 2. Provide a hands-on research experience through which studentswill learn how discovery, clinical and translational kidney research are conducted and the results aredisseminated to others, and 3. Provide mentoring and career development activities to enhance entry andretention of the students into careers as kidney research scientists. We are uniquely positioned to achieve thegoals of our Program. UT Health San Antonio has a robust portfolio of kidney research programs through whichstudents will gain exposure to cutting edge research, a cadre of experienced mentors to guide and energizestudents about careers in biomedical investigation, a location in a large, growing city with a large population ofURM students, and a PI with experience in leading a national R25 undergraduate research education program(NIDDK STEP-UP).