In 2020, the National Institute for Health (NIH) awarded Dr. Rumbeiha from the Department of Molecular Biosciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine with a $2,400,000 5-year ‘Innovative Program to Enhance Research Training’ (IPERT) grant to support mentoring and skills development training for underserved undergraduate students in the STEM sciences with the goal to build a pathway for students to enter graduate toxicology programs and ultimately the toxicology workforce. A secondary objective of the Toxicology Mentoring and Skills Development Training (ToxMSDT) program is to engage in outreach by providing high quality toxicology knowledge to the public.
UC Davis, in collaboration with the Society of Toxicology, Iowa State University, The Ohio State University, Tuskegee University, and Michigan State University bring together expertise in toxicology, education, IT, biomedical research ethics, statistics and experimental design, and mentoring to this unique program.
Each year twenty-five undergraduate students are competitively selected from institutions of higher education nationwide. Each student mentee is matched 1:1 with volunteer mentors from industry, academia, government, or nonprofit entities from across the country.
Mentee and mentor training is provided to all participants at the University of California Davis inaugural kick-off workshop preparing mentees for regular meetings with their mentor to receive career guidance. A job shadowing visit, the ‘2 Days in the Life of a Toxicologist’ event, offers insight into mentor’s career path in toxicology and on the skills needed at the mentor’s current place of work. In addition, mentees attend the annual Society of Toxicology conference to continue networking efforts with professionals and to discover future career opportunities.
To conclude the annual program, mentees and mentors participate in the capstone event at Tuskegee University where successful candidates receive a Certificate of Completion at the culmination of the program. This certificate marks the successful accomplishment of other program components including training in biomedical research ethics, rigor and reproducibility, and the completion of six online learning modules providing knowledge about important topics in toxicology ranging from ‘Principles of Toxicology’ to ‘Applied Systems Toxicology’.
All Case Study Modules are freely accessible to the public 24/7 to anyone with a computer or handheld portable device connected to the internet.