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Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD)

Ph.D. student presents research from an IMSD project.

The Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) opportunity allows you to take part in a two-year fellowship that provides a supportive, counseled environment for you to train and develop the skills you need for a career in biomedical research. This research includes the continuum from basic laboratory studies to clinical trials.

The program focuses on increasing the number of researchers among groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce and encouraging others who have demonstrated an interest in research questions related to these groups.

Through the IMSD program, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences presents students with a dynamic research experience in a supportive environment characterized by outstanding resources, a cooperative approach to research, and an atmosphere with the highest level of mutual respect among all students and staff.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Offer professional development. The IMSD program provides two years of fellowship support and professional development skills at the outset of Ph.D. training. These assets reduce psychological stress and isolation at a majority institution by increasing peer connections and support.
  • Improve communication skills. The IMSD program engages participating students in rigorous oral presentation and grant writing workshops to improve communication skills. Improved oral and written communication skills facilitate success in competitive graduate student fellowship applications, Ph.D. qualifying exams, and later professional achievements.
  • Provide ongoing counseling and evaluation. Participants receive continuous counseling and periodic subsequent progress reviews. This process ensures that more than 90% graduate with a Ph.D. or M.D.-Ph.D. degree in their intended discipline.

Student development activities

Research with a mentor

IMSD predoctoral students conduct research under the supervision of a skilled basic or translational research investigator-mentor and research group.

Training in the responsible conduct of research

All Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences students are required to pass the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences course "Responsible Conduct of Research." The course, which meets weekly for 11 sessions during the summer quarter, is attended by the IMSD program manager and directed by an IMSD mentor who is a member of the IMSD internal advisory committee.

Sessions include a lecture and case study discussion. Lectures focus on key principles that govern the conduct of research, relevant literature, and discussion to strengthen professional standards.

Weekly IMSD meetings

Meetings are scheduled for 45 weeks a year (68 contact hours) on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Meetings are the primary forum for student development, including the opportunity to receive peer criticism in a non-threatening environment.

Participation in seminars, journal clubs, and meetings

All IMSD students attend departmental seminars, actively participate in journal clubs, and present research findings in laboratory meetings.

Attendance at national research meetings

Travel funds support IMSD student attendance at one national student research conference or national research meeting. This experience offers additional professional development for diverse predoctoral students during the years when Ph.D. students typically do not have access to travel funds.

SITDPScientific Innovation Through Diverse Perspectives Conference

The goal of the Scientific Innovation Through Diverse Perspectives (SITDP) conference is simple, but bold: we want to promote diversity in scientific research by providing a platform of inspiration and for knowledge that is essential to pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career. SITDP sessions will center around career development, CV/interview workshop, higher education decision making, and keynote speakers.

The conference will be held in a hybrid format virtually and in-person in Rochester, Minnesota, on May 6-7, 2023, with the theme of From Bench to Bedside: Diversifying Science and Medicine. 

For more information on the SITDP Conference 2023, review the conference schedule and abstract program