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Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement ("RISE")

RISE is a student-development program sponsored by a generous grant from the Training, Workforce Development & Diversity (TWD) Division of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

Programs Goals

bullet point To encourage minority students to pursue careers in biomedical research by preparing them for graduate-level work in the physical and life sciences.

bullet point To ensure the quality of their preparation in course content and research skills.

RISE Development Plan

To achieve the program goals RISE students will participate in activities at all levels of their undergraduate development to improve their competitiveness for graduate-level studies. Prior to admission to the program as RISE scholars, freshman or sophomore transfer students are required to (i) complete a course (BIOL/CHEM/PHYS 1600) that gives overviews of the skills, training, and education required for the various occupations in the sciences and includes a workshop on the responsible conduct of research; (ii) achieve a good grade in at least one course in their major; and (iii) complete the 9-week TILT research skills workshop. Click here to link to the RISE student   Regulations and Guidelines.

RISE scholars participate in a series of hierarchical student-development activities:

bullet point TILT - hands-on training workshop in interdisciplinary biomedical laboratory techniques emphasizing advanced instrumentation.  Typically, students participate in this workshop in the summer after their freshman or sophomore year.  It introduces them to the interdisciplinary nature of research and is not part of the traditional degree curriculum.  TILT is generally the entry point for student participation in the CSU RISE program. To apply for the workshop, download the TILT APPLICATION FORM and submit it to the RISE Administrators, Dr Potluri or Dr. Sherman, or directly to the TILT Coordinator, Dr Erhart.

 bullet point ASPIRE - campus and off-campus student  research experiences which include both academic year and summer internships.  After successful completion of the TILT techniques workshop, students will get actual research experiences working on faculty-led projects during the fall and spring semesters. For a listing of current faculty with active biomedical research labs, click here. Students will have opportunities to present their research at regional or national meetings. Costs to attend these meetings will be covered by the RISE Program.

Students may continue their academic year research in their "home" lab or away at research-intensive universities. A listing of these opportunities may be found on the RISE summer internship bulletin board webpage.

 bullet point CURA- at the next level of their development, students who have completed TILT and have worked in a faculty research laboratory for at least one semester will be eligible to apply for a competitive undergraduate research award (“CURA”) to cover the cost of research supplies for the following summer or academic year.  The program will award grants of up to $1,000 to students for the purchase of non-standard laboratory supplies and equipment necessary to complete a specific research project.

bullet point  Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) to increase student achievement and lowering student attrition in introductory “gateway” biology, chemistry, and physics courses.  RISE scholars will help teach these critical courses in their major and thus experience what it will be like to be a TA in graduate school.

bullet point  GRASP -the capstone project which guides students through the graduate school application process. Workshops are offered on the preparation of the GRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICATION PACKAGE and include the PERSONAL STATEMENT and GENERAL GRE TEST.


Student Benefits:

bullet point  Opportunities to engage in university-level research.

bullet point Paid research internships at CSU during the Fall and Spring semesters and in the Summers.

bullet point Paid summer research internships off-campus at research universities and national labs*.

bullet point Travel to regional and national scientific conferences to present research results and network with scientists in your field.

bullet point The opportunity to develop your own research project, and grants of up to $1,000 for the purchase of non-standard laboratory supplies and equipment necessary to complete that project.

bullet point Learn research and teaching skills that will help you succeed in graduate school.

bullet point Assistance with GRE exams and graduate-school applications.

* For a comprehensive listing of available summer research internships, go to the RISE summer internship bulletin board webpage.


Progress Toward Achieving Program Goals:

Since the original funding of the CSU RISE Program in 1999, more than 40 students have been admitted to Ph.D. programs in biology, chemistry and physics and 24 alumni of RISE and its MBRS predecessor program have been awarded Ph.D. degrees. More than 200 RISE students have graduated with B.S. degrees in biology, chemistry or physics.  Many of those who have not gone on to academic graduate programs have gone on to professional doctoral programs (pharmacy, medicine) or obtained employment in scientific and health profession areas both in the public sector (hospitals and medical laboratories) and in private industry (pharmaceutical companies). Participation in RISE activities or SCORE research projects is equated by many employers to job experience and gives CSU graduates a competitive advantage in the job market.

bullet point The measurable goal of the CSU RISE Program is to increase the numbers of graduates who successfully make the transition to biomedical Ph.D. programs.  To view how we are doing in achieving this goal, click here.

bullet point For a list of RISE alumni who were successful in being admitted to Ph.D. programs since the 1999 start of the program, click here.

bullet point For a list of the 24 alumni (RISE and its predecessor MBRS program) who have been awarded Ph.D. degrees in biomedical disciplines, click here.


bullet point  For answers to frequently-asked student questions about the Chicago State University RISE program, click here.

New Students:

bullet point If you are interested in applying to be part of the RISE Program, please download and print the RISE Student Employment Form complete it and drop it off at the NIGMS Office (room SCI-222). Click here to link to the RISE student Regulations and Guidelines.

bullet point For more information about the NIGMS-RISE Program, please contact:
Dr. Devi Potluri or Dr. Warren Sherman
Williams Science Center, Room SCI-222
Chicago State University
9501 S. King Drive
Chicago, IL 60628-1598

bullet point Phone inquiries (which leave voice messages) at   773-995-2322 or  773-995-2279.
Faxes at  773-995-2169.
E-mail to

student collage 2student collage 1student collage 5

Program Personnel

Dr Devi PotluriDr Warren Sherman

Devi Potluri, Ph.D.
MBRS RISE Program Director
& Dept. of Biological Sciences Chairperson

Warren Sherman,Ph.D.
MBRS Programs Coordinator
& Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Mark ErhartMs. Debra Walls, Program Secretary
Mark Erhart, Ph.D.
TILT Coordinator & Professor of Biology 
Debra Walls
MBRS Programs Administrative Assistant
Dr. Kristy Mardis 
Kristy Mardis , Ph.D.
PLTL Coordinator & Professor of Chemistry
* The MBRS RISE Program is funded by NIH/NIGMS grant R25 GM59218 through 2017The NIGMS logoNIH logo


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This page was updated on 02/02/16