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OSU biomedical graduate program expands in second year

Monday, October 10, 2022

Media Contact: Harrison Hill | Senior Research Communications Specialist | 405-744-5827 |

Now in its second year, the Graduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (G-RISE) program has continued to grow.

Adding four new students and two new principal investigators (PIs), the program is continuing to help doctoral students from underrepresented groups succeed.

The G-RISE program is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and OSU was one of the first eight institutions in the country to have been awarded a G-RISE grant. The program focuses on increasing diversity in the Ph.D. trained biomedical science field.

Dr. Matt Lovern, associate dean for the Graduate College, and Dr. Erika Lutter, associate professor in microbiology and molecular genetics, are the two new co-PIs in the G-RISE program this year. They are joining PI and program director Dr. Pamela Lovern, associate professor in physiological sciences, and Dr. Carol Powers, assistant dean for the Graduate College and G-RISE program coordinator. 

Dr. Matt Lovern offered his thoughts on the new developments in the G-RISE program. 

“Both Dr. Lutter and myself are just really grateful for the opportunity and excited to continue to work with the students on this during this program,” Lovern said.

The current plan for the G-RISE program at OSU will be to add two more students next year and then maintain 10 within the program each year going forward.

The four new students come from a diverse list of areas: microbiology, psychology, integrative biology and animal science, Lovern said.

The diversity in the program goes beyond backgrounds though as it reaches across many interests between the students and provides new ideas fostered by the students.

“They've basically made a connection that goes across disciplines, with other folks who have largely similar interests to them, but they're doing it from different perspectives,” Lovern said.

 “So I think that community is something that I hope they're really going to find valuable.”

The students help each other across disciplines, while one student might be working with a particular aspect of microbiology, another student might be looking at techniques and the knowledge that they're gaining which have really broad application to the community, he added.

“We need to bring in people from diverse backgrounds. We need to include them in this enterprise. Because that's sort of how the best ideas are generated and that's how we recruit and retain the brightest across this broad spectrum of backgrounds,” Lovern said. 

This program includes faculty mentoring that OSU anticipates won’t just benefit the students in this program, but students at OSU at large. It also includes some professional development opportunities with some programming that is open to G-RISE trainees, Lovern said.

“It has a really strong impact on students,” Lutter said. “Specifically, the ones that we're bringing into the program, but also other students on campus because they can take part in the G-RISE activities, workshops or seminars, so it's really nice that they can actually take part as well even if they're not a direct scholar. I think the impact within the graduate student population is going to be very positive.

As the program continues to grow the hope is that it will spread and reach throughout the OSU campus.

“In terms of its impact, it's one that's going to grow, and it's going to be very positive,” Lutter said.

Story By: Olivia Trolinger |

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