detail of hands pipetting into tube

If you are a student with a strong interest in pursuing a PhD in the life sciences and you want to gain more or different research experience and get support through the PhD application process, then PREP@UGA is the program for you! PREP@UGA program personnel have expertise in student learning and mentorship, experience supporting students in their professional growth, and are committed to helping you successfully navigate the PhD application process. Check out our alums to learn more about their journeys.

As a Scholar, you can choose to do research in a variety of life science disciplines, including Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Cellular Biology, Ecology, Environmental Health, Genetics, Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Pharmacy, and Population Health. This experience will prepare you for graduate training and a successful career in science. We are committed to helping you to prepare an application that will be competitive for top PhD programs across the US.

PREP@UGA offers:

  • A one-year long intensive research training experience
  • A competitive stipend with access to health insurance
  • Access to tuition-free course work and other formal instruction as part of an individualized development program
  • A research mentor and a mentoring team to provide a supportive and proactive training experience
  • Integrative activities that provide opportunities to interact and learn with graduate students, preparing scholars for graduate school
  • Ample opportunities to hone oral, written, and graphic communication and presentation skills
  • Funding to attend and present research at at least one national or international scientific conference

What makes PREP@UGA unique?

  • Lab matching: Scholars start the program by learning about the variety of research being done by PREP@UGA faculty mentors and their research groups. Then Scholars engage in day-in-the-lab visits before deciding which lab to join. This matching process helps Scholars and mentors find a good fit for the year.
  • Robust professional development: In addition to dedicating ~80% of their time to doing research, Scholars meet weekly as a cohort. Fall meetings focus on how to be an effective mentee, how to make the most of a research training experience, how to identify PhD programs of interest, and how to navigate the PhD application and interview process. Spring meetings focus on further developing critical reading, writing, and presentation skills and transitioning to PhD programs.
  • Community building: Scholars, program personnel, and mentors also gather informally and socially so that the group can get to know one another, support each other, and build a sense of community.
  • University of Georgia: UGA is home to world-class research in several domains of life sciences. Check out our Integrated Life Sciences PhD program Interdisciplinary Groups to get a sense of our research strengths and cutting-edge facilities. Depending on research interests, Scholars can benefit from close ties with multiple centers on campus, including the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, the Center for Molecular Medicine, and the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center.

A unique feature of PREP@UGA is the focus on training in infectious diseases; however,  PREP@UGA participants will gain skills enabling them to pursue studies in other areas of biomedical research such as: Biochemistry, Cellular Biology, Ecology, Environmental Health, Genetics, Institute of Bioinformatics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Pharmacy, or Population Health. The main goal of our Program will be to contribute to training the preparation of scientists who represent future leaders in investigations into any of the biological life sciences and, more specifically, in Infectious diseases.

  • Infectious diseases have a tremendous impact on our society and are a serious global public health problem. Lack of vaccines, inadequate drug treatments, and emergence of resistance in pathogens are serious challenges for the control of infectious diseases. Good science and well-trained professionals are the basis for the successful development of new control and treatment measures.
  • The University of Georgia is in an exceptional position to provide world-class, diverse training in pathogen biology and host/pathogen interactions. There are more than one hundred researchers from different Departments and Colleges at UGA working on infectious diseases. Research includes work on protist and helminth parasites, pathogenic bacteria, a diversity of viral pathogens, and five select agents. PREP scholars will benefit from close ties with the Department of Infectious Diseases, and the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, and the Faculty of Infectious Diseases, among other units at UGA.
  • UGA resources and facilities, which include more than ten high containment laboratories, including a vivarium capable of supporting containment work with large animals using high consequence pathogens, are unique to our Institution. All of these attributes make UGA the place to train in infectious diseases.

PREP@UGA Outcomes:

  • PREP@UGA has 59 alumni to date. Fifty or 85% have matriculated into PhD programs, with 15 alumni choosing to remain at UGA for their PhD studies.
  • PREP@UGA alumni have received many awards during their PhD studies, including 5 NSF GRFP fellowships and 3 NIH F31 awards.
  • To date, 8 students have graduated from their PhD program, with 4 continuing their training as post-doctoral fellows (3 in academia and 2 in government). One PhD graduate is a Clinical Research Professor, and another works in industry.
  • PREP@UGA alums are represented in many sectors including academia, industry, nursing, teaching, medicine, veterinary science, and public health.