LCC-TAMIU Partnership Brings $413,774 NIH Grant

LCC-TAMIU Partnership Brings
$413,774 NIH Bridge Grant

The National Institutes for Health (NIH) will fund a program created by Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University to provide a “baccalaureate bridge” between the two for under-represented minority students to obtain degrees in the biomedical sciences.

The program, “PUENTES”  (Promoting Undergraduate Education Now Through Experimental Science) will receive NIH funding of $413,774 for the three-year program.

Dr. Dan Jones, TAMIU provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the initiative grew from funding insight provided by the Texas A&M Research Foundation and developed by the University’s Office of Grant Resources and College of Arts and Sciences’ faculty.

“This remarkable opportunity seemed tailor-made for our application and our partnership with LCC made our grant candidacy especially attractive to the NIH. It’s a great example of how well we work together and how our partnerships can daily benefit our students and our community,” Dr. Jones said.

Dr. Juan Maldonado, LCC executive vice president, concurred.

“We are very excited to join with TAMIU in this new partnership that will help us to work together to prepare individuals for careers in the biomedical professions.  The NIH grant will allow our respective institutions to provide resources and activities that are necessary to facilitate the academic success of students participating in the PUENTES program.  Our students, institutions and community will gain from our joint venture, “ said Dr. Maldonado.          

The program will encourage student participation in PUENTES by: increasing LCC students’ interest and awareness in biomedical research; enhancing the academic competitiveness of LCC students; increasing the transfer rate from LCC to TAMIU of students completing a four-year degree in science, and increasing the number of such students who pursue research careers in biomedical fields.

It will be rendered through collaborative seminars, summer research experience, special courses and yearlong mentoring, training and writing workshops.

Dr. Jones noted that the NIH is clearly focusing on the future of biomedical field instruction.

“They are looking to grow this nation’s next biomedical professorate. These students will have the potential to take their place among the nation’s top faculty and guarantee that we continue to lead the world in teaching and research in these pivotal fields. Working with LCC, we will be preparing a new generation of biomedical researchers who have a vested interest in this region’s health issues and can contribute to the local and national alleviation of these issues,” he said.

The program’s principals are program director Dr. Dan Mott, TAMIU associate professor and dean, College of Arts and Sciences; program coordinator Dr. Mario Garcia-Rios, TAMIU associate professor of science and LCC program coordinator Richard Renner, LCC dean of arts and sciences.

Additional program mentors include TAMIU faculty Drs. Eric Albrecht, David Beck and Joshua Freedom Stevenson.

For additional information, contact Mott at 326.2583, Garcia-Rios at 326.2585 or Renner at 722-0521.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu