Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has partnered with two historically Black schools in the city – Morgan State University and Coppin State University – to cultivate a diverse group of highly trained biomedical researchers. The partnership is funded by a $2.46 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The three institutions have established the Academic Success via Postdoctoral Independence in Research and Education (ASPIRE) program, an intensive effort that bridges engineering, medicine, and biology for translational research that address challenges related to human health. The goal of the program is to provide new professional development opportunities for postdoctoral scholars who have an interest in teaching students from underrepresented groups.
The new program will provide participants with research opportunities under the guidance of Johns Hopkins faculty mentors. The participants will develop their academic skills through workshops, course development opportunities, and teaching experiences under faculty members at Morgan State and Coppin State. Throughout the three-year program, the scholars will spend 75 percent of their time conducting biomedical research and 25 percent learning about teaching and working in the classroom. They will research diverse topics in biomedical engineering and have two mentors, one from Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering and one from the School of Medicine.
“Currently, we’re seeing a significant lack of diversity in biology, medicine, and engineering, especially as you progress along the academic career trajectory, from college to graduate school to faculty,” said Leslie Tung, professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins and director of ASPIRE. “That’s what we’re trying to change. Through these mentorship and training opportunities, ASPIRE will provide encouragement to underrepresented student groups and inspire them to pursue careers in biomedical research and engineering.”