<> SPURS:Biomedical Research Program
Columbia University Medical Center


Our mission is to train the next generation of health care professionals. This program will play a pivotal role in advancing education for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students.

In addition, we intend to create diversity of representation among the future ranks of doctors and investigative scientists. Many of our talented candidates are first-generation college students coming from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. In order for these students to succeed and for society to benefit, it is crucial that we provide the means for these students to gain access to careers in biomedical research and facilitate their understanding of what it means to be a biomedical investigator.
Several of our recent SPURS alumni have gone on to impressive graduate school placements. Just this fall, Ogo Okolo entered medical school at Columbia University (Case Western Reserve University, Mentor: Dr. Wesley Grueber), Kaylee Wedderburn-Pugh (Columbia University, Mentor: Dr. Andrew Marks) has started a combined MD, PhD program at UCSF, Nicolette Moya (University of Colorado at Denver, Mentor: Dr. Kandel) entered a PhD program at Northwestern University, Joshua Barbosa (Emory University, Mentor: Dr. Rene Hen) entered Emory University School fo Medicine, and Kenny Igarza (Emory University, Mentor: Dr. Richard Axel) entered a Neuroscience PhD program at Princeton University. These students, and those before them have made us all incredibly proud. Time and time again SPURS alumni have cited their experience in the program as the single most important factor in their successful admission to graduate or medical school. https://theconversation.com/how-affirmative-action-could-cure-cancer-and-heart-disease-83206
A Brief History/Early Success
In the summer of 2002, nine students formed the first group to benefit from the Program. The success of that first summer is demonstrated by the fact that of the nine students, eight went on to medical school (Einstein and Downstate Medical Schools) or to pursue advanced degrees at Cornell, Columbia, Stony Brook, and Harvard universities. The summer of 2003 saw 16 students enrolled in the Program, with equally impressive results. Students that summer moved on to Cornell Medical School, research assistantships at Columbia, Sloan Kettering, and Hunter, and graduate Programs at Columbia and Stony Brook. The 2004 Program, with 8 students, the 2005 Program with 11 students, and the 2006 Program with 13 students were equally successful– with four of the students going on to win prizes at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students ("ABRCMS") with the work they did at Columbia. Several students achieved other honors for the work done at Columbia. See Student Testimonial

SPURS: A Pipeline Program to Interest Under-Represented Students in Lab Research

Double Discovery Center (Columbia College)

Diversity Makes You Brighter

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Last modified: February 6, 2023