Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Dr. Thomas Rich Receives AHA Award, Funds Undergraduate Research

Pictured from left - Dr. Thomas Rich, professor of pharmacology at the USA College of Medicine, Angela O'Neal, graduate advisor for the USA basic medical sciences graduate program, Jennifer Collins, grants administration specialist for the USA Center of Lung Biology, and Dr. Jack Shelley-Tremblay, director of the office of undergraduate research at USA, review images in the bio imaging core facility at the USA Medical Sciences Building.
Dr. Thomas Rich, professor of pharmacology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently received an award from the American Heart Association (AHA) to fund an undergraduate summer research program at the USA College of Medicine.

According to Dr. Rich, undergraduate research is a well-recognized vehicle for promoting student success. “The goal of this program is to provide a training environment that prepares undergraduate students for competitive graduate programs in the biomedical sciences,” he said. “The program provides research experiences to train students in laboratory skills and experimental design, as well as interactive workshops that target professional development.”

The program focuses on five multidisciplinary projects at the intersections of engineering, physiology and biochemistry. “Participating undergraduate students will conduct research under the mentorship of program faculty, explore the implication of the research with peers through both formal and informal discussion groups and present their research at an end of the program symposium,” he said. “Through this program, students will gain the experiences that they need to develop into the next generation of scientists examining cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology.”

Dr. Rich said Dr. Jack Shelley-Tremblay, director of the office of undergraduate research at USA, was instrumental in developing the infrastructure required for effective undergraduate research programs. Jennifer Collins, grants administration specialist for the USA Center for Lung Biology, and Angie O’Neal, graduate advisor for the USA basic medical sciences Ph.D. graduate program, also played critical roles in establishing and maintaining grants. “Although this award is modest in size, it is a product of a great deal of effort by faculty and staff across USA,” he said.

Dr. Rich said he is excited to welcome the first cohort of students this May. The award supports four undergraduate students from different universities for three years. The students are selected based on academic record, research interest and performance, and potential for developing productive research careers.

Since 1949, the AHA has invested more than $4.1 billion in research to enhance our knowledge of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. To learn more about the AHA, click here.

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