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 2019 and faculty SCORE research projects are funded through 2020.  Four new SCORE applications were submitted January 2019 and are currently under funding review at the NIH.

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, Northwestern, Emory, Howard, and Wayne State.  As of this date 33 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 scientific workforce.


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, Dr Devi Potluri), assisted by a Program Coordinator (Dr Warren Sherman) and faculty who supervise the program activities.  They are assisted by a fifteen-member Advisory Committee composed of PIs of present and past SCORE Programs, CSU administrators, and an external member.

SCORE Program. Two SCORE research projects are currently funded by the NIH and four were submitted in 2019 and under review. Several more faculty 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.

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. Additionally, RISE students participate as peer tutors for gateway courses in the sciences in the CSU STEM  LA Program.

By participating in RISE 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 regional and national scientific meetings and network with leading scientists with national reputations. As indicated above, 33 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 Dr Potluri at the address provided. 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 total

$8.1 million





Funding total

(18 research projects)

$9.4 million


* CSU RISE and Institutional SCORE Programs are supported by NIGMS grants R25 GM059218 and SO6 GM008043, respectively.

** The NIGMS replaced the Institutional program with individual faculty-led grants in 2011.

NIGMS logo

NIH logo


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