NSF Undergraduate Research and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences (URM)

An award has been made to the former The University of Texas–Pan American (UTPA) to establish a URM program that will engage students in research and mentoring in biology. Cohorts of 7 students per year will participate in the program for a full year. The URM program will combine coursework, independent research, summer research at first-tier research institutions, presentations, community outreach, and group activities (e.g., workshops, ethics and writing courses, GRE preparation). URM students will work with biology faculty at UTPA to examine the interactions of arsenic with animals, plants, and microorganisms in the Laguna Madre, a rare hypersaline estuary ecosystem in South Texas. URM students will test the hypothesis that aquatic organisms of the Laguna Madre are lessening the ecological impact of arsenic in the laguna by transforming and immobilizing arsenic via several mechanisms. The URM program provides an opportunity to involve students in research that will directly impact their community while aiming to increase the training and diversity of biologists in the USA.