From the Director

Madeline Shea2023 FUTURE in Biomedicine Collaborators - Story by Celine Robins

The FUTURE - Fostering Undergraduate Talent - Uniting Research and Education - in Biomedicine℠ Program of the UI Carver College of Medicine seeks to foster a network of scientist-educators throughout the state of Iowa to enhance preparation of students for biomedically related careers in research or clinical practice, and to share the unique resources of the UI Carver College of Medicine with our colleagues at primarily undergraduate institutions.

In the class of 2023, we have 9 participating Faculty Fellows from Buena Vista, Coe College, Dordt University, Grinnell College, University of Northern Iowa and Waldorf University.  To promote education and research, Fellows may select an undergraduate student to participate in the experimental studies conducted during the summer.  This year 10 undergraduate student researchers have accompanied their faculty mentors. The departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Internal Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Neurology, Radiation Oncology are hosting participants.

The program includes many exciting activities, beginning with orientation in late May.  During the summer, there are programs of weekly seminars or panel discussions, closing with the Summer Undergraduate Research Conference and Research Symposium in late July.  In the fall, the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies hosts a Biomedical Pre-Graduate School Conference, timed to coincide with the Pre-Medical School Conference.  To our mutual benefit, alumni Faculty Fellows continue to participate in these events, building stronger intercollegiate ties among primarily undergraduate institutions in Iowa.

In past years, we offered Better Futures for Iowans grants to support faculty throughout our state to use our research core facilities as part of a classroom or research experiment that involved undergraduate students.  Awards have been given for the use of the Central Microscopy Research FacilityGenomics for sequencing, Nuclear Medical Resonance Facility and the High Resolution Mass Spectrometry Facility.  Students participate in sample preparation and the analysis of results - gaining a perspective for the nature of true research, where the answers are not known in advance.  We plan to offer these again in the future.

Several Faculty Fellows have developed ongoing collaborations with their host laboratories or other UI Carver College of Medicine faculty they met while in residence on our campus.  Past Fellows have conducted subsequent sabbatical research in Iowa City, published scientific papers with UI faculty, presented their studies at national or international conferences and participated in successful grant applications to fund collaborative research.  They continue to use libraries and core research facilities, and recommend our training programs to their students.

Faculty Fellows and students have varied interests at the start of the summer.  As they describe in their testimonials each year, their experiences on our campus changed their view of their own future and created stronger ties with the University of Iowa.  Several students from past classes have pursued Ph.D. or M.D. degrees, or became research assistants or clinical technicians. 

We thank all of the individuals who applied to the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ Program and appreciate the commitment of their academic colleagues who nominated them.  We look forward to the coming year bringing new opportunities to foster scientific and educational interactions among academic institutions throughout Iowa.


Madeline A. Shea, Ph.D.
Director, FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ Program
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics