Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Grant Program

IMSD 2023 Scholars
2023 IMSD Scholars

About the Grant Program

The IMSD grant program is designed to increase the participation of under-represented groups in the biomedical sciences.

IMSD scholars receive the following benefits from the grant program:

  1. Payment of tuition, fees, and health insurance by the grant for a period of at least 12 months (after that your financial support will come from one or more other sources).
  2. Financial support for travel to colleges or universities for the purpose of presenting your research.
  3. Ability to obtain essential career development tools to assist you with the transition to the next career step after the Ph.D. by attending professional development workshops.
  4. Gaining knowledge about issues pertaining to diversity and how to enhance diversity in the scientific community.

IMSD by the numbers:

  • 57 scholars supported by the grant
  • 32 scholars obtained a Ph.D. degree
  • 7 students obtained an MS degree
  • 12 students currently in training
  • 10 obtained significant individual NIH or other foundation funding while a graduate student
  • Career choices include 23% to industry, 3% to non-profit organizations, 40% to academia, 10% to the government, and 23% to other/further training

To apply for a position on this grant, you must be a Ph.D. student of any race or ethnicity (U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident) who has shown a strong commitment to enhancing diversity or who is a member of a group that is under-represented in biomedical and biobehavioral research. These include:

  • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown to be under-represented in doctoral-level health-related sciences on a national basis
  • Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or from disadvantaged backgrounds

The components of the program include:

  1. Monthly professional development meetings
  2. Travel to conferences and alumni institutions to present your work
  3. Serving as a Graduate Student Advisor to a summer undergraduate research participant and a new Ph.D. graduate student once you have completed the first year of the Ph.D. program
  4. Working with an IMSD Mentoring Committee member to ensure progress through graduate school and preparation for post-doctoral career plans
  5. Social Activities

Request more information about the grant program

For more information contact:

Brad Elwood
Assistant Director of Training Programs

Dr. Catrina Robinson, Ph.D.

Catrina Robinson

IMSD Co-Director

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology

Dr. Robinson earned a B.S. in Laboratory Technology and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Auburn University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. She transitioned into a junior faculty position at the University of Michigan. After obtaining a career transition K01 award, Dr. Robinson joined the Department of Neurology at MUSC as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. She is currently an R01-funded investigator studying the impact of metabolic disorders on both normal and pathological brain aging. The primary research goal of the laboratory is to focus on mechanisms linking metabolic disorders to impaired cognitive function, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke-induced vascular contributions to cognitive impairment, and dementia (VCID) in order to develop novel therapeutic strategies to combat disease onset and progression. Dr. Robinson is passionate about and committed to mentoring and training the next generation of scientists. 

Dr. Adviye Ergul MD, PhD

IMSD Co-Director

Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Adviye Ergul earned her M.D. from The University of Istanbul Cerrahpasa Medical School in Istanbul, Turkey in 1987. After her residency in Clinical Biochemistry at Haseki Hospital in Istanbul, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, in 1995. She joined the Program in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy as an Assistant Professor in 2000. In 2007, she joined the Department of Physiology at the Medical College of Georgia and became a full Professor in 2009 and a Regents Professor in 2017. She relocated her research program to the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in Oct 2018. The overall goal of Ergul Laboratory is to enable the development of innovative strategies and therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of diabetes and hypertension-associated complications including vascular cognitive impairment (VCID) and stroke. Her research has been continuously funded by NIH, VA Merit, AHA, and ADA since she started her own research program in 1997. She currently holds VA Senior Research Career Scientist Award, VA Merit Award, and two NIH RO1s as well as multiple fellowships for her trainees.