DPC Newsletter

Student Conferences Spotlight

Volume 7, Issue 3

Research Digest

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NIGMS TWD hosts evaluation workshop with NRMN Coordinating Center researchers

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity (NIGMS TWD) hosted an Evaluation Workshop on June 21, 2022. National Research Mentoring Network researchers Christine Pfund, PhD, Jenna Rogers, PhD, and Fátima Sancheznieto, PhD, collaborated with NIGMS staff to organize the webinar. They provided the community with information about opportunities for common measure use and shared the NRMN public measures library, which was developed from the NRMN Phase II Measures Library. They also discussed how to address assessment and evaluation barriers for TWD programs and interventions. Recordings of the workshop with captioning are now available on the NIGMS TWD Training Resource site.

A qualitative exploration of STEM community college students’ transition to a four-year university

Two Portland State University BUILD EXITO alumni, MacKenzie Gray and Sandhya Gunarathne, contributed to this article published by CBE – Life Sciences Education in August 2022.



“Community colleges expand access to higher education and play a key role in efforts to increase and diversify the future science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. While community colleges increase access to higher education and millions of students attend them for some portion of their education, the experiences of transfer students remain relatively understudied. Transferring during an academic journey can compound the barriers that students already face when pursuing a STEM degree. This study uses Schlossberg’s model for analyzing human adaptation to transition to understand how STEM community college transfer students navigate and adapt to the 4-year university. Five semi structured focus groups were conducted with STEM community college transfer students attending an urban university. Analysis of the focus groups resulted in a new model: the amended model of adaptation to transfer transition, or AMATT, which illustrates various factors that played a role in STEM community college transfer students’ adaptation a university. Analyses illumined two broad pathways that students tend to diverge into during their transitions—thriving or simply surviving. This work provides a framework for understanding factors influencing the transfer process and ideally will inform institutions and students as they consider maximal transfer student success.”

Read the full article here.

Interprofessional near-peer mentoring teams enhance cancer research training

Researchers affiliated with the Portland State University BUILD EXITO program contributed to this publication, which was part of the Special Issue, “Youth Enjoy Science (YES) Programs” published by the Journal of STEM Outreach (JSO) in September 2022.  


“A cancer research training program explored different approaches for staffing their in-person and virtual programs for high school students. The inclusion of undergraduate near-peer mentors had a universal benefit when implemented across in-person and virtual training programs of one- and ten-week durations. Benefits are described for four stakeholder groups: the high school trainees, program staff, scientist partners, and peer mentors themselves. Peer mentors described that their involvement enhanced their own professional development and, for some, drove a new interest in cancer research. Scientist partners described that peer mentors helped translate their work in the virtual environment for high school students. High school trainees reported their sessions with peer mentors to be one of their favorite parts of the program. Interprofessional peer mentors were highly relatable to students and modeled communication and paths in biomedical research. Staff reported that peer mentors supported student engagement during community shadowing sessions, allowing staff to focus on developing the shadowing experiences with partners. The benefit of including peer mentors was substantial from all viewpoints explored. Their intensive inclusion in cancer research training programs supports sustainability and capacity building in biomedical workforce development.”

Read the full article here.

UAF BLaST Scholar published in Journal of Molecular Structure

Second-year BLaST Scholar Shadrach Stitz is an author on the article, “Cytotoxicity as a Function of Ligand Isomerism: Synthesis and In Vitro Anticancer Activities of Pt(CH3)2I2{2,2'-bipy-a, a'-(CH3)2}. (a,a' = 4,4'; 5,5'; 6,6').” This is Stitz’s first published paper and more are in progress. William (Bill) A. Howard, PhD, an associate professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of Alaska, is the last author on the paper. The preprint article is available from the Journal of Molecular Science (publication date of February 2023).


"The anticancer properties of well-defined molecules serve to bolster the field of metals in medicine. Such compounds, particularly those of platinum and their closely related structural analogs, continue to be potentially highly interesting to researchers and clinicians alike. The four octahedral organoplatinum(IV) compounds [Pt(CH3)2X2{bipy-R2}] (X = Br, I; bipy-R2 = 2,2’-bipyridine, 2,2’-bipyridine-4,4’-dicarboxylic acid) have been isolated and structurally characterized by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. Nuclear magnetic resonance and infrared spectroscopic data are also tabulated as useful reference values. The anticancer potential of each compound was assessed via in vitro MTT assays, using human breast cancer cells (cell line ZR-75-1). EC50 values were determined as 11.5 µM for Pt(CH3)2Br2{bipy}; 3020 µM, for Pt(CH3)2Br2{bipy-(CO2H)2}; 6.1 µM, for Pt(CH3)2I2{bipy}; and 86.0 µM, for Pt(CH3)2I2{bipy-(CO2H)2}; for comparison, the EC50 value for cisplatin against the ZR-75-1 cells was 16.4 µM. The most cytotoxic of the four compounds Pt(CH3)2I2{bipy} undergoes reaction with glutathione in a THF/water mixture at 68°C very slowly."

Read the full preprint article here.

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The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.

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