The Beckman Scholars Program at UAB


The UAB Beckman Scholars Program is for exceptional students in the biological, chemical, and biomedical sciences. The program will provide the scholars with rigorous research training through intensive faculty mentoring. The scholars will also participate in a distinctive enrichment program that develops the skills needed for them to become future leaders in science. Beckman Scholars will participate in high-impact research and engage in a long-term, intensive collaboration with their faculty mentor while learning how to conduct independent research in a nurturing environment.

A total of six UAB students will be selected as Beckman Scholars over the three-year period of the award. Fifteen UAB faculty have been selected as potential Beckman Scholar mentors.

Eligibility and Selection


Eligibility
Undergraduate biology, biomedical engineering, or chemistry majors with an overall GPA of 3.5 or above and who have completed at least one semester of undergraduate research are eligible to apply. Applicants must be US citizens or Permanent residents.

Selection
The UAB Beckman Scholars Steering Committee comprised of Dr. Robert Thacker (Interim Chair, Biology), Dr. Graves (Chair, Chemistry) Dr. Wick (Chair, BME), Dr. Tucker (Director, S&THP), and Dr. Sloane (Director, UHP) will screen the initial applications and identify a pool of 5 to 10 finalists to be invited for an interview. An applicant must have his/her potential Beckman faculty mentor submit a letter of support unless the faculty member has already provided one of the original references. Each finalist will give a 10-minute presentation (no PowerPoint allowed) to the committee on his/her research topic, indicating the scope and nature of the proposed research project and its overall significance. The Steering Committee and invited potential faculty mentors will have a 10-minute opportunity to question the applicant on any aspect of his/her application. Selection will be based on the evaluation of each applicant's written materials and oral skills as demonstrated in the interview. Particular attention will be paid to the candidate's intellectual capabilities, written and oral communication skills, and potential for a leadership role in a science-related career or profession. One Beckman Scholar will be named in mid to late April.

Funding


Each UAB Beckman Scholar shall receive an award in the amount of $19,300. All expenditures must be directly related to the Scholar’s Beckman research experience. The funding is broken down as follows:

Student Stipend
Summer Funding: $12,000 ($6,000 per summer)
Academic Year Funding: $4,000

Scientific Meeting Travel and Research Supplies
Summer travel and Supplies: $1,700 ($850 per summer)
Academic year Travel and Supplies: $1,600

Application


All materials must be received by April 6th at 5 p.m.
Electronic copies can be emailed to Sloane@uab.edu. Please put ‘Beckman Application’ in subject line.
Hard copies of application materials can be submitted to: Dr. Mike Sloane, UAB Beckman Scholars Program.

Physical Address:
Spencer Honors House,
1190 Tenth Avenue South,
Birmingham, AL 35294

Mailing Address: HOH,
1720 2nd Ave South,
Birmingham, AL 35294-4450

Make sure you review the research descriptions of the 15 Beckman Scholar mentors (see Faculty Mentors tab) and contact your potential Beckman research mentor to discuss potential research projects.

Application Materials
  • Completed Beckman Scholars Application Form
  • A current UAB transcript (Unofficial)
  • Resumè with complete information on educational background, honors and awards, all previous research experiences (with dates, mentors etc.), presentations, and publications
  • Career Goals: A one-page written statement of your educational and long-term plans for pursuing research in the natural sciences (12-point font, 1” margins)
  • Plan of Beckman Research Project: A two-page research proposal that includes background information on the project and a concise, but well-defined research project plan (consult with your proposed mentor)
  • Two recommendation letters from faculty researchers: Letters of recommendation can be emailed to Sloane@uab.edu or faxed to (205) 975-5493

 

Program Details


Summer One
Laboratory Research: Beckman scholars will devote 40 hours/week for ten weeks during the summer semester. Thirty five hours will be based on laboratory research. Beckman Scholars will have individual weekly meetings with their mentors and will participate in regular lab meetings and journal clubs. Beckman Scholars will attend colloquia appropriate to their area of research interest.

Beckman scholars may enroll in a summer GRE preparation class offered by the McNair Scholars Program. Scholars will also have ongoing access to workshops provided by the Graduate School on ‘Scientific Writing’ & ‘Preparing for Graduate School.’

Beckman scholars working with neurobiology faculty will participate in weekly meetings of the Summer Program in Neurobiology (SPIN) program directed by Drs. Linda & Jacques Wadiche. During these meetings SPIN mentors discuss their research and career path. Weekly luncheon discussion meetings focus on various topics in neuroscience and graduate programs.

Beckman scholars will have an individual meeting with the Director of Post Baccalaureate Fellowships regarding national awards and scholarships and where appropriate, with the Director of UAB’s MSTP program (MD/PhD).

Beckman scholars will attend, along with a Beckman Mentor, the Beckman Scholars Annual Research Symposium at the Beckman Center of the National Academies in Irvine, California.

Fall Semester
Laboratory Research: Beckman Scholars must work 10 hours per week in the laboratory on their Beckman research project during the fall semester and will register for the equivalent number of credit hours using the appropriate departmental research course options. Beckman Scholars will continue to have individual weekly meetings with their mentors and will participate in regular lab meetings and journal clubs. Beckman Scholars will attend colloquia appropriate to their area of research interest.

Beckman Scholars will enroll in a 1 credit hour interdisciplinary seminar, STH 395 Honors Proposal Seminar, led by S&THP Director Dr. Tucker and Assoc. Directors, Dr. March (Chemistry) and Dr. Eberhardt (BME). This seminar provides excellent exposure to analyzing primary literature and developing expertise in research design. The product of this seminar is a written NSF or NIH style research proposal, which is presented in oral and written form.

Spring Semester
Laboratory Research: Beckman Scholars must work 10 hours per week in the laboratory on their Beckman research project during the fall semester and will register for the equivalent number of credit hours using the appropriate departmental research course options. Beckman Scholars will continue to have individual weekly meetings with their mentors and will participate in regular lab meetings and journal clubs. Beckman Scholars will attend colloquia appropriate to their area of research interest.

Scholars will enroll in STH 400 Honors Thesis Seminar, an interdisciplinary seminar, which focuses on writing and presenting the thesis research.

UAB Beckman Scholars will present their research at the annual UAB Spring EXPO. Scholars will be invited to present research at the annual University of Alabama System Honors Research Conference and at regional and national conferences for undergraduates. Scholars will have full and free access to a poster printer and supplies.

UAB Beckman Scholars will speak at the Beckman Scholars Research Symposium. An annual Beckman Scholars Symposium will be held in May at which Beckman Scholars will present their research from the previous year. A keynote speaker will anchor the event to be held in the Spencer Honors House.

UAB Beckman Scholars will be hosted by the UAB President. Senior Beckman Scholars will be a guest at the annual luncheon at the President’s residence for recipients of national honors and will also be individually recognized at the UAB Honors Convocation in May.

Summer Two
Laboratory Research: Beckman scholars will devote 40 hours/week for ten weeks during the summer semester. Thirty five hours will be based on laboratory research. Beckman Scholars will have individual weekly meetings with their mentors and will participate in regular lab meetings and journal clubs. Beckman Scholars will attend colloquia appropriate to their area of research interest.

Beckman scholars will be expected to prepare a manuscript for submission to a professional journal.

UAB Beckman Scholars will present their research at the annual UAB Summer EXPO.

UAB Beckman Scholars will give a presentation at the Beckman Scholars Annual Research Symposium at the Beckman Center of the National Academies in Irvine, California in August.

UAB Beckman Scholars will receive special invitations to meet with distinguished visiting scholars who deliver various endowed lectureships at UAB.

To enhance their scientific communication skills, UAB Beckman Scholars are encouraged to take a specific section of CM101 Public Speaking, which the S&THP has arranged to focus on scientific communication.

Beckman Scholars will enroll in a one credit-hour seminar series in their home department. Options include: BY 499 Biology Seminar Series, CH 491 Chemistry Seminar, BME 401 Undergraduate BME Seminar, and NBL/PY 401 Colloquium in Basic, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience. They will also be strongly encouraged to attend their departmental colloquia.

Faculty Mentors

The UAB Beckman Scholars Program faculty mentors are prominent scientists engaged in research on a broad range of topics in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, biomedical engineering, biomedical sciences, and combinations thereof. All of the mentors have demonstrated their effectiveness and long-standing commitment to mentoring undergraduate research and in some cases have received university-wide awards for their research mentoring abilities. Some of them have previously mentored Goldwater scholars and students who were subsequently awarded NSF graduate fellowships, and other national awards. 


The pool of UAB Beckman mentors represents a mixture of senior and junior faculty. While there were many potential Beckman faculty mentors with distinguished scientific records, strong extramural funding, and a consistent history of involving undergraduate students in research, we specifically focused on faculty known to be genuinely involved in direct supervision of UAB undergraduates. The individual attention that UAB Beckman Scholars will receive from the faculty mentors selected will undoubtedly yield a rich and productive research experience for the scholar.

Listed below, in alphabetical order, are the fifteen faculty mentors selected for the UAB Beckman Scholars Program. Beckman applicants should familiarize themselves with the faculty members’ research programs and should contact individual faculty mentors with research in their area of interest.



Name: Charles Amsler, Ph.D.
Title: Professor of Biology (Marine Ecophysiology and Chemical Ecology)
Email: amsler@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 975-5622
Office Address: Campbell Hall, Rm 367
Department: Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Website

 

Research Description



Name: Rita Cowell, Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurobiology; Cell Biology; Neurobiology
Email: rcowell@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 975-7466
Office Address: Chauncey Sparks Center, Rm. 729
Department: Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology
Website

 

Research Description



Name: David Graves, Ph.D.
Title: Professor, Chair, and Graduate Program Director in the Dept. of Chemistry
Email: dgraves@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 975-5381 or (205) 934-8276
Office Address: Chemistry Building, Rm 201C
Department: Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences
Website

 

Research Description



Name: Ho-Wook Jun, Ph.D.
Title: Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Email: hwjun@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 996-6938
Office Address: Shelby Building, Rm 806. (1825 University Boulevard)
Department: Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering
Website Bio
Website for Lab

 

Research Description



Name: Farah Lubin, Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor of Neurobiology
Email: flubin@nrc.uab.edu
Phone: (205) 934-6571
Office Address: Shelby Biomedical Research Building, Rm. 1102 (1825 University Boulevard)
Department: Neurobiology, School of Medicine
Website

 

Research Description



Name: James McClintock, Ph.D.
Title: Professor of Biology; University Professor; Endowed Professor of Polar & Marine Biology
Email: mcclinto@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 975-2525
Office Address: Campbell Hall, Rm 368
Department: Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Website

 

Research Description



Name: Vladimir Parpura , M.D., Ph.D.
Title: Associate Professor of Neurobiology; Investigator, Evelyn F. McKnight Brain
Institute; and
 Director, Atomic Force Microscopy & Nanotechnology Laboratories
Email: vlad@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 996-7369
Office Address: Civitan International Research Center, CIRC Rm 429 (1719 6th Ave South)
Department: Neurobiology, School of Medicine.
Website

 

Research Description



Name: Jamil S. Saad, Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor of Microbiology
Email: saad@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 996-9282
Office Address: Bevill Biomedical Sciences: BBRB, Rm. 366
Department: Microbiology, School of Medicine
Website
Lab website

 

Research Description



Name: Yuhua Song, Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Email: yhsong@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 996-6936
Office Address: Shelby Biomedical Research Building, SHEL Rm 803 (1825 Univ. Blvd.)
Department: Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering.
Website

 

Research Description



Name: Eric Sorscher, M.D.
Title: Professor of Medicine, Physiology & Biophysics; Director, Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center
Email: sorscher@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 934-9640
Office Address: McCallum Basic Health Sciences Building, Rm. 798 (1918 University Blvd.)
Department: Dept. of Medicine- Division of Hematology and Oncology, School of Medicine
Website

 

Research Description



Name: David Sweatt, Ph.D.
Title: Evelyn F. McKnight Chair, Dept of Neurobiology; Director, McKnight Brain Institute
Email: dsweatt@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 975-5196
Office Address: Shelby Biomedical Research Building, Rm.1010, 1825 University Boulevard
Department: Neurobiology, School of Medicine.
Website

 

Research Description



Name: Robert (Bob) W. Thacker, Ph.D.
Title: Associate Professor of Biology (Marine and Freshwater Ecology); Scientist, UAB Center
for AIDS Research
Email: thacker@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 934-4006
Office Address: Campbell Hall, Rm. 269
Department: Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Website

 

Research Description



Name: Trygve Tollefsbol, Ph.D., D.O.
Titles: Professor of Biology (Gene Regulation in Cancer and Aging); Senior Scientist,
Comprehensive Cancer Center, Center for Aging, Comprehensive Diabetes Center and
Nutrition Obesity Research Center; Director, Cell Senescence Culture Facility.
Email: trygve@uab.edu
Phone: 205-934-4573
Office Address: Campbell Hall, Rm. 175
Department: Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Website

 

Research Description



Name: Sadanan Velu, Ph.D.
Title: Associate Professor of Chemistry; Associate Scientist, Comprehensive Cancer Center;
Associate Scientist, Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences.
Email: svelu@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 975-2478
Office Address: Chemistry Building, Rm. 280
Department: Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences
Website

 

Research Description



Name: Nabiha Yusuf, Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor of Dermatology; Associate Scientist, Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Email: nabiha@uab.edu
Phone: (205) 934-7432
Office Address: Volker Hall 566A
Department: Dermatology, School of Medicine
Website

 

Research Description