Minority Access to Research Careers

Assisting Bioinformatics Efforts at Minority Institutions

2015 MARC Workshop Participants

Main Objectives

The primary aim of the project is to increase minority participation in biomedical research through a broadly-based program synergistically formulated to assist minority serving institutions establishing bioinformatics programs ranging in size from a single course to a degree program. Our program is unique in being both situated external to a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and in its focus on building and sustaining curricula and research programs at partner MSIs.

Major Activities

 The current collaborative effort assists scientists at MSI's through four main activities:   

  • Bioinformatics Summer Institute: An annual intensive two-week Summer Institute in Bioinformatics at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center open to faculty and graduate students at minority serving institutions. The session focuses on preparing faculty to incorporate bioinformatics into their teaching and research.
  • Bioinformatics Summer Internship: An annual mentored research program at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center for students that have completed bioinformatics training on their local campus to receive guidance on a self-selected research problem involving bioinformatics and next generation sequencing. 
  • Bioinformatics Online Learning Environment: The development of interdisciplinary training modules and related course materials for the fields of Biology, Computational Science and Mathematics. 
  • Curriculum Improvement: A partnership to improve the curriculum at Minority Serving Institutions by providing aide and assistance to MSI's establishing bioinformatics programs and adding bioinformatics components into coursework.

Brief History

The PSC has a long history of successful bioinformatics training, having conducted training workshops funded by the National Institutes of Health in the computational biosciences since 1989.

  • 1999: As part of outreach efforts, PSC “Roadshow” three day workshops on Sequence Analysis take place at Clark-Atlanta, Howard University, and the UPR Medical Sciences Campus.
  • 2001: In collaboration with scientists at MSI's, the PSC developed activities to assist faculty from MSI's in the area of bioinformatics education and research. The original program, a three year NIH/MARC grant award to PSC/Carnegie Mellon University with Minority Partners – Developing Bioinformatics Efforts at Minority Institutions.
  • 2005: Five year renewal for MARC grant award is obtained. 
  • 2009: ARRA funds are obtained for a Learning Management System and small Computational Research System. 
  • 2011: Five year renewal for MARC grant is obtained. 



The NIH Public Access Policy, which requires that authors of published peer-reviewed manuscripts deposit those manuscripts in PubMed Central within 12 months of publication, applies to publications arising from NIH funded projects. For more information read the NIH Public Access Policy.


Summer Institute and Summer Internship training participants can acknowledge the training received as follows: 

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) grant T36-GM-095335 to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.


Work on Biou should be acknowledged as follows:

This work used BioU, which was made availiable by National Institutes of Health grant T36-GM-008789 to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.

Work on Blacklight should be acknowledged as follows:

This work used the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by the National Science Foundation grant OCI-1053575. Specifically, it used the Blacklight supercomputer system at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC). 

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