PREP Program Description

Program Goals

The University of Washington (UW) and its partner Institution, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), believe that a diverse group of biomedical researchers is essential for the long-term competitiveness of the United States, and for the identification and resolution of health care disparities. Thus, we are committed to the diversification of the biomedical workforce. As part of this commitment, the UW PREP, supported by the National Institute of Health, will provide laboratory and didactic training to a group of students who have recently graduated from B.S./B.A. granting programs and who wish to optimize their preparation for and successful completion of biomedical doctoral programs (Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.).
The program is not designed for individuals contemplating a professional degree.

Trainee profile

UW PREP scholars will include individuals who are US citizens or hold permanent resident status, and are also members of groups underrepresented in biomedical sciences, including economically disadvantaged students and those with disabilities. The program is aimed at undergraduates who have great potential and enthusiasm for science, yet lack some tangibles (for example research experience) and are therefore less competitive for the most competitive biomedical graduate programs. We especially seek to recruit individuals who have BA/BS degrees in biomedically-related sciences, G.P.A.s of at least 3.0 and who lack substantial research experience. Under exceptional circumstances (e.g. evidence of hardship, etc.), we will consider candidates with lower GPA, but only when the student’s commitment to biomedical research is particularly strong and the academic trajectory of the student is positive. PREP scholars must commit to applying to PhD Programs within the completion of the program.

Financial Support

The UW PREP supports students, for one year, with a $32,000/year salary, plus benefits, educational allowance, and per diem/travel to one national conference.

Program Components

  • Orientation:
    Trainees will start the program beginning Summer Quarter, in late June 2024. A set of introductory meetings will introduce trainees to the PREP administrators, faculty and staff; to the University of Washington environment, and to each other.
  • Mentored Research:
    The main objective of the UW PREP is to involve the trainees in exciting cutting-edge research.  To this end, trainees will be placed with a mentor, who can direct different aspects of a cohesive, often interdisciplinary, research project. Students will select mentors that match their research interests from a pool of participating UW and FHCRC faculty.
  • Individual Development Plan (IDP):
    Upon entering the UW PREP Program, each trainee, under the direction of the Principal Investigator (PI) and the co-investigators, will complete an IDP to establish her/his strengths and weaknesses and develop the most effective mentoring, counseling, and academic support needed to gain the core competencies for successful completion of doctorate
  • Writing Coursework: During the Fall quarter, trainees will attend a writing course developed specifically for the UW PREP Program. The course is designed to enhance scientific writing skills, with particular emphasis on developing effective style and language usage, clarity, and structure in scientific writing in research papers, abstracts, and applications.
  • Academic Coursework:
    Trainees will have the opportunity to take one graduate course (or upper level undergraduate course) in areas where additional didactic training is needed.
  • Seminars and research presentations:
    All mentors associated with this program hold weekly informal research meetings, and the trainees will be expected to attend the group meetings of the primary mentor. Individual departments or divisions in which the trainees will be placed have their own seminar series and research seminars, presented by prominent visiting faculty as well as pre- and postdoctoral fellows. Trainees will attend these presentations.
  • Journal Club:
    During the Winter and Spring quarters, trainees will take turns as discussion leaders for a weekly Journal Club, self-selecting a current biological theme and critically presenting current manuscripts.
  • Poster Session:
    Trainees will present their scientific findings at the annual University of Washington Undergraduate Research Symposium at the end of the PREP year in May.
  • Scientific Meetings:
    Funds will be made available for each trainee to present at or attend a national scientific meeting appropriate to her/his research and academic interests.
  • Graduate School Application:
    All trainees are expected to apply to at least five top-tier graduate programs, including one or more programs at UW; in most cases, applications will be completed by the end of the Fall quarter.