Chicago State University

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Programs

The research wing of the Williams Science Center student at microscope


There are two NIGMS-funded Programs at CSU:

bullet point Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE)

bullet point Support of Competitive Research (SCORE).

Previously known as MBRS, both Programs are funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).* The CSU Programs are designed to (i) provide expanded opportunities for students majoring in biology, chemistry and physics to prepare for doctoral-level work (RISE) and, (ii) enhance the biomedical research capabilities of the university (SCORE). The RISE Program is authorized for funding through 2017 and faculty SCORE research projects are funded through 2016.  Several new SCORE applications are currently in preparation.

bullet point History of NIGMS-funded Programs at CSU

Over the past three decades, undergraduate and graduate students have been received research training and financial support from the NIGMS. More than 400 students have graduated with B.S. degrees in biology, chemistry or physics and 50 have earned M.S. degrees in biology. More than one-hundred students have gone on to doctoral degrees in biology, chemistry, medicine, or medically-related professions at prestigious schools, such as University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Purdue, University of Notre Dame, University of Missouri, Louisiana State University, Northwestern University, Emory University, Howard University, and Wayne State University.  As of this date 28 have earned PhD degrees in STEM disciplines.  For a listing click here

Prior to 1999, NIH support for research and student development activities was centered on one NIGMS-MBRS program. Since 1999, student-development activities for undergraduates is funded by the RISE Program while research is supported by the SCORE Program.

Since the division of the NIGMS support into RISE and SCORE, more than 200 RISE scholars have been awarded baccalaureate degrees in the sciences and more than 40 have progressed to Ph.D. programs.  RISE alumni who did not go on to academic graduate programs have obtained employment in teaching, health profession areas both in the public sector (hospitals and medical laboratories) and in private industry (pharmaceutical companies). Participation in the NIGMS-funded workshops or research projects is equated by many prospective employers to job experience and gives CSU graduates a competitive advantage in the job market.

The NIGMS Programs have been one of the largest sources of non-state support for faculty-led research in the biomedical sciences at CSU. Over past two decades, sixteen projects have received support from the NIH and have provided vital resources for research training for undergraduates and graduate students.

bullet point Program Administration & Staff

RISE Program. The principal personnel are the Program Director (PD) assisted by a Program Coordinator, Program  Secretary and faculty who supervise the program activities.
SCORE Program. Three faculty Principal Investigators are currently supported by the SCORE Program, and several more expect to submit applications in the near future. Over the past two decades an additional eleven faculty research projects have received support from the SCORE Program and the earlier MBRS Program.
Dr. Devi Potluri is the PD of the RISE Program and  Dr Warren Sherman coordinates the day-to-day program activities. They are assisted by a fifteen-member Advisory Committee composed of PIs of the SCORE Program, the RISE faculty, and additional faculty and administrators.

bullet point Student Participation in Rise & Score

The RISE Program employs undergraduate students as research trainees. Students majoring in biology, chemistry, physics, or other biomedically-related areas who are interested in pursuing careers in scientific research may participate in either on-campus SCORE research projects or off-campus at research universities or national laboratories. RISE also employs students as peer tutors for gateway courses in the sciences, in the TILT summer skills workshop and provides assistance in the graduate-school application process.

By participating in RISE and SCORE, students learn scientific concepts, skills and techniques beyond those taught in the regular classroom. They learn to apply techniques and carry out procedures to which they may be exposed only briefly in traditional science courses. From these experiences, students obtain a much greater appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of biomedical research and the interrelatedness of their studies. Additionally, travel support provides students with unique opportunities to attend national scientific meetings and network with leading scientists with national reputations. To date, 28 alumni of RISE and its predecessor MBRS program have been awarded PhD degrees in STEM disciplines. For details, click here.

bullet point Faculty Participation in RISE & SCORE

RISE. Faculty participate as Project Investigators, coordinators and instructors in the student-development RISE Projects.they also provide individual mentorship for the RISE scholars.
SCORE. Over the past two decades a total of sixteen faculty-led research projects have been supported by the MBRS and SCORE Programs.  The NIGMS Programs Coordinator runs an annual training workshop for new faculty to encourage them to apply for new SCORE support.

bullet point  Application Process for Prospective RISE Students

Since the primary goal of the NIGMS  RISE Program derives from a 1972 act of the Congress of the United States to address the under-representation of minorities in the biomedical research professions in the US, participation in the RISE Program is restricted to U.S. citizens or non-citizens with immigration status.

For Undergraduates

To participate in RISE students must be attending CSU on a full-time basis and normally possess a GPA minimum of 3.0. (In exceptional circumstances, students will be accepted with less than 3.0 if they are progressing towards this goal.) APPLICATION FORMS may be downloaded by clicking here. On completion, please submit it to NIGMS Programs Secretary Ms. Debra Walls, SCIENCE BUILDING, ROOM 222 (telephone: 773-995-2279; fax: 773-995-2169). The completed form will be reviewed by the RISE Advisory Committee.  Dr. Potluri or Dr. Sherman will inform the applicant of his/her placement.

Graduates Students

The RISE program is not currently mandated to provide financial support for graduate students.  However, graduate students can be employed in SCORE projects as research assistants. Graduate students normally initiate the application procedure by making contact with a faculty member whose research is supported by the  SCORE Program and with whom they wish to do their thesis research. The current list of SCORE-supported faculty may be found in the SCORE section of this website.

bullet point  Financial Benefits to the University

The following is a summary of recent CSU NIGMS-funded budgets:


Funding cycle





Funding total ($)

2.9 million

2.7 million

1.1 million

1.4 million



Funding cycle 





Funding total ($)

2.1 million

2.3 million

4.2 million

3.0 million

* The CSU RISE and SCORE Programs are supported by NIGMS/NIH grants

    R25 GM059218 and SO6 GM008043, respectively.

** The NIH replaced SCORE institutional grants with individual faculty-led grants in 2011.

NIGMS logo

NIH logo

Return to the Index Page

Page last updated 05/11/16

go to top