Newswise — Bethesda, Md. (December 19, 2017)—The American Physiological Society (APS) is honored to announce a new $50,000 grant from The Hearst Foundations in support of the APS undergraduate summer research fellowships (UGSRF) program that will be used to fund immersive laboratory research experiences for five students. As part of an ongoing commitment to foster undergraduate research experiences in physiology, APS has sponsored 348 UGSRFs since 2000. Fellows will spend 10 weeks working in the labs of APS member-researcher hosts and complete online interactive professional development lessons.

The purpose of The Hearst Foundations grant is to provide summer research fellowships to undergraduate students who are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. Hands-on research experiences such as the UGSRF are critical to keeping students engaged and within the STEM pipeline.

“APS has had phenomenal success in attracting and retaining undergraduate students in STEM research careers,” said APS Executive Director Martin Frank, PhD. “Historically, we have relied on government grants to support these programs. But in recent years, some of these funding sources are no longer available, making support from the prestigious Hearst Foundations that much more timely and necessary.”

In follow-up surveys, fully 95 percent of fellows reported applying to advanced degree programs. For those who had graduated and been accepted to such programs, nearly half went into PhD or MD/PhD graduate research programs. Research continues to be an important part of fellows’ current and future career plans, with more than two-thirds continuing their involvement in research four years after participating in the program.

UGSRF awardees are selected based on academic merit, the quality of the proposed experience and the availability of appropriate faculty mentors. Each Hearst fellow receives a stipend and housing allowance plus additional travel funds to present his or her research at the APS annual meeting at Experimental Biology (EB). Research hosts receive funds for lab supplies for the fellow’s summer research project.

Fellows participate in hands-on research and learn to develop a hypothesis and design, troubleshoot experiments, collect and analyze data, and write and present results. In addition, fellows have the opportunity to:

  • network with other APS fellows interested in and conducting biomedical or basic research;
  • explore the nature of research and the scientific process;
  • investigate physiology career options and what it takes to find career success;
  • learn about scientific writing and draft a meeting abstract;
  • learn about common ethical issues in figure and text preparation;
  • write a blog post about their summer research experience;
  • learn more about writing personal statements and requesting future letters of recommendation; and
  • pose their career questions to the APS Porter Physiology Development and Minority Affairs Committee.

APS proudly offers UGSRFs to 60+ undergraduate students along with offering other awards and grants that recognize excellence in student research each year. For more information on APS- or Hearst Foundations-sponsored UGSRFs or to apply, visit the APS website.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: For more information, contact the APS Communications Office or 301-634-7209.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first U.S. society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 10,500 members and publishes 15 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.