U-Rise and Bridges


Bridges to the Doctorate Research Training Program (BPD)
BPD Program Information

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) –
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Goal Statement

The goal of the Bridges to the Doctorate Training Program (T32) is to develop a diversified pool of scientists earning a Ph.D. and who have the skills to successfully transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce.

BPD Program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN)

The BPD Program at CSUN is based on the successful aspects of the Graduate RISE Program. We provide our trainees with both curricular and co-curricular activities that improve their educational experience and enhance student participation in biomedically relevant research. BPD prepares students to successfully compete for entry into Ph.D. programs.

Partnership with Ph.D.-granting Institutions

The BPD program has a cooperative partnership with five outstanding Ph.D.-granting institutions: UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, and Stanford University. BPD trainees will have opportunities to interact with researchers at these institutions. In the first year of the BPD program, trainees will identify the top two programs they would like to attend, visit the partner institutions when travel resumes, and begin networking with faculty and PhD students at their target programs. The goal for these interactions is to understand the expectations for admission and success in the trainee’s top choice programs, and devise short-term and long-term goals to achieve them.

Summer Orientation

New BPD trainees in the program will participate in a two-week orientation and introduction to the program with BPD Program Director, Dr. MariaElena Zavala. During this period trainees will develop a cohort, receive training in Responsible Conduct in Research, and training in completing an Individual Professional Development Plan (IDP). The IDP will be approved by the student’s research advisor in the first semester of their graduate program.

Bimonthly meetings

Bimonthly (every other month) meetings that involve the graduate student, the research advisor, and a BPD PI (Dr. Cheryl Courtney-Hogue or Dr. Ray Hong or Dr. MariaElena Zavala) will gauge the trainee’s progress throughout the MS/MA program. Meetings will be scheduled at a mutually acceptable time. These sessions are an opportunity to discuss research results, see how the trainee is meeting their graduation timeline, and to discuss successes as well as problems that may arise.

Bimonthly Special Topics Seminars

BPD trainees will attend a special topics bimonthly seminar series with the BPD PI’s. It will meet every other month alternating with the bimonthly meetings between the trainee, their research advisor, and BPD PI. These sessions will allow students to receive additional training in grant proposal writing, data analysis, and reproducibility of results. Some training sessions will also be online. Additionally, trainees will be able to interact more with each other and learn about research projects that each are engaged in.

Bridges to the Ph.D. Seminar Series (Biology Colloquium, BIOL 692)

Ten speakers will be invited each year, including faculty from the Ph.D. partner institution. Dates, times, and locations for the seminars are included in the syllabus for Biology Colloquium (BIOL 692) with Dr. MariaElena Zavala. Seminars occur on Fridays during the fall and spring semester. Trainees will meet informally with the colloquium speaker the morning of their talk.

Research Requirements

Graduate students will be expected to successfully complete their MA/MS requirements in addition to working a minimum of 20 hours per week in the laboratory during the academic year. Graduate students are expected to work full time during the summer and interim periods. BPD trainees will present at a regional or national discipline focused scientific conferences. Trainees will be able to attend workshops that prepare students to present their research findings at scientific meetings. Each trainee is required to present a poster or a talk at the annual CSUNposium every year based on their BPD supported research.

BPD trainees that have never participated in an extramural research experience will be encouraged to do so. Other activities that BPD trainees may participate in include a six-week Big Data summer workshop and an online mentoring network.

              *$ 25,320 Annual (Set by NIH)
SUPPLY and Other Training Expenses
            *$ 2,500 per year
             *$ 1,000 Total Per Year Per Participant
               Program provides approximately 60% partial payment for tuition and fees.  Amount is set by the NIH.

*2021-2022 allotments - Stipend payments, supplies, and other training expenses, travel allotments and tuition/fee payments are subject to change based on level of 2022-2023 funding.