University of California, Riverside

Marc U STAR Program

MARC Guidelines, Requirements, and Expectations


1. The goal of the Program is to provide significant research training to undergraduate minority students in the sciences in order to help them enter a competitive high-quality PhD Program in the biomedical-related sciences. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of underrepresented biomedical and behavioral scientists in leadership career positions that advance the health-related research needs of the nation. Our target outcome is to achieve 100% of our Trainees entering high-caliber PhD programs within 3 years of graduation. 

2. MARC U* Trainees with junior standing are funded for 2 years beginning in the summer.  Trainees with senior standing are funded for 1 year beginning in summer.  This funding includes a stipend, tuition and fees.

3. The Trainees will conduct research under the supervision of a MARC mentor part-time during the academic year and full-time during the 10-week summer program. MARC students are not allowed to take summer session classes unless approved by their Faculty Mentors, the Administrative Director, and the Director. 

4. The trainee’s research is overseen by the Faculty Mentor, and other scientists and advanced students in the Laboratory typically help teach the Trainees techniques and guide their research as needed.  Methodology and Procedures should be supplied in a written form to the Trainees. Trainees should participate at the hosting lab meetings and journal clubs. It is expected that the Trainee will gradually become more independent and will eventually be working with minimal guidance on a specific project (or part of a project). All trainees must complete the UCR RCR (responsible and ethical conduct of research) online modules ( and take the safety training classes (as required by each laboratory) before they start working in the lab.

5. Trainees can elect to receive university credit for their research.  Up to 9 units can be used towards the student’s major.  These 197 research units must be initiated by the student through the student’s advising office and approved by the student’s department and faculty mentor.  All majors have different requirements for taking 197 research units.  These requirements should be discussed with the student’s department advisor.

6. Trainees are expected to contribute significantly to the advancement of a project in the Faculty Mentor’s lab and should strive to obtain data of importance and of publishable quality. All trainees are required to present a poster at the annual undergraduate research symposium of UCR and should be encouraged to attend regional/national scientific meetings as well. At the end of their Traineeship, the students present the results of their research in a polished, professional 20-minute powerpoint presentation (capstone presentation) during the spring quarter bi-weekly meetings. This presentation should include a brief summary of possible future directions of the research project and the students will provide the Director with a written Research Fellowship proposal (NIH Predoctoral F31 Fellowship style) that has been approved by the Faculty Mentor. Guidance on how to prepare this document will be provided by the Director during the bi-weekly meetings and by the Faculty Mentor. 

7. All MARC Trainees are required to take one quarter of formal instruction in bioethics (BMSC 254).  BMSC 254 (Science Practice, Science Method, and Bioethics) is offered fall quarter and taught by MARC Faculty Mentors, Drs. Defea and Ethell.  MARC Trainees may take this course for 1 unit of undergraduate credit.  

8. Each publication that involves significant research contributions by the Trainee must include the Trainee as a co-author and must acknowledge NIH grant support of the student Trainee, such as “This project was supported by Award Number T34GM062756 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.”  In accord to NIH guidelines, publications must be submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance and the Faculty Mentor should provide the PMCID (or NIHMS# for “PMC in progress papers”) to the Administrative Director (Rebecca Brown). 

9. All MARC students should maintain contact with the MARC Program office after graduation from UC Riverside.  The Administrative Director will periodically contact MARC Alumni via email for an update.  Please forward new email addresses to Rebecca Brown.

10. Note that no Trainee will be permitted to work on any project involving live vertebrate animals or humans that has not been approved by the IACUC and/or IRB.  The grant itself does not support animal costs, housing or food. 


NIH Requirements (requirements mandated by the NIH):

1. Scientific Meetings

Attend at least one national or local scientific meeting per year while in the Program.  You have the opportunity for presenting posters and giving a talk.  This requires submission of abstracts prior to the meetings (be sure to give the MARC office a copy of your abstract).

The MARC Program will reimburse travel expenses for Trainees up to $750/year, which includes transportation, hotel, and food. 

2. 3.0 GPA

MARC U* Trainees must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in the Program.  A student whose GPA drops below 3.0 will be put on probation for one quarter.  If the GPA remains below 3.0 for two quarters, the student will be dropped from the Program.

3. Summer Research Experience at another University

MARC U* Trainees should spend one summer at another University in the US, preferably at an institution that has an organized Summer Research Program.  Housing, food and transportation costs for the summer experience will be covered up to $3000 by the MARC Program. 

MARC U* Requirements (requirements specific to the UCR MARC Program):

1. MARC U* Classes

NASC 189, Reading & Analysis of Scientific Literature and discussion of topics related to the responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR). This is a one-unit course that is normally offered in the Winter quarter and is taught by Dr. Martinez (and/or another Faculty Mentor).

NASC 188, Introduction to Oral Presentations, is offered in spring quarter. This course is taught by Dr. Curras-Collazo.  This is a 2-unit course.

2. Biweekly Meetings

Biweekly meetings of the Trainees are held with the Director and Administrative Director. Faculty Mentors are welcome to attend/participate. These meetings are an important and versatile component of the training program and are used (i) to monitor the students’ research progress via students short oral presentations (power point); (ii) to help identify and solve scientific problems; (iii) to provide complementary education on responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) and other bioethical issues in relation to their research experiences; (iv) to provide further assistance with any other issue related to program training (e.g., questions regarding preparation of the capstone presentation and written research proposal); (v) to meet invited Directors of Graduate Programs from other high-caliber institutions (e.g., Stanford) and learn about the process and requirements for admission into those high quality PhD or MD/PhD programs (generally Fall quarter); (vi) to meet other faculty on campus and hear about their research (generally Winter quarter); and (vii) for the students’ capstone research presentation, a polished 20 minute talk suitable for a presentation at a scientific meeting (during Spring quarter), during which the other attending MARC students are encouraged to ask questions and make comments.

3. Responsible Conduct in Research

All MARC students are required to complete one quarter of formal instruction in bioethics while in the Program.  Two classes are recommended: BMSC 254 (1 unit, offered fall quarter) and PHIL 009 (4 units, offered fall quarter).  The student has the option of taking one of these courses in either their first or second year in the MARC Program. We highly encourage our students to opt for BMSC 254.

4. MARC U* Summer Symposium

A Symposium is held at the end of the summer program, where the MARC U* Trainees and the Pre-MARC summer students present their research in a short talk. This is attended by colleagues, friends and family.

5. MARC U* Lecture Series

MARC faculty at UCR and Professors from other universities and institutions are invited to several of the bi-weekly meetings to present talks during the year.  Attendance at these bi-weekly meetings is required.


More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Marc U STAR Program
4489 Boyce Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5449
Fax: (951) 827-3087