Sure-GM Logo

SURE-GM is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to train and engage in genetic and genomic research, developed by The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville.

SURE-GM is a 2-year summer program for outstanding undergraduates attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the state of Alabama who want to explore the potential of a career as a scientific investigator in the fields of genetics and genomics. Trainees will spend the first summer at HudsonAlpha and will concentrate on training in fundamental research skills. The second summer will provide a mentored research experience and will take place in a research lab at either UAB or HudsonAlpha. In addition, SURE-GM will provide opportunities to interact with other trainees, stay engaged through “SURE-continuity” and selected trainees will attend a meeting of the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

SURE-GM One will begin June 8, 2020 at HudsonAlpha Institute in Huntsville and will accept 12 scholars into the two-summer program. Twelve additional scholars will be selected each year for the next three years.

SURE-GM One will emphasize foundational knowledge in genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, laboratory skills, and provides exposure to multiple research opportunities. This first summer experience will be based at HudsonAlpha Institute and will include hands-on learning and laboratory activities, didactic exposure to fundamental principles of genetics and genomics, structured activities, seminars and professional development training all aimed at preparing students for a mentored research experience the following summer.

During the following academic year trainees will participate in a continuity program designed to maintain engagement. With monthly seminars that can be joined virtually, if needed, trainees will hear from potential UAB mentors about possible research projects and discuss ethical, legal and social concerns relevant to current research in genomic medicine.

SURE-GM Two will be centered around a mentored research experience, along with professional development, counseling and support in applying to graduate and/or professional school. The home for SURE-GM Two will be at UAB so as to benefit from the existing infrastructure used to support underrepresented post baccalaureate students in preparing to apply to graduate school, and students will be able to pursue mentored research either at HudsonAlpha or at UAB. The focus on research for SURE-GM Two scholars will be supplemented by structured activities during the second summer, such as a genetic and genomics book club, seminars and continued personal skills development.

This program is designed for scholars with a strong interest in pursuing graduate school (PhD or MD/PhD) and biomedical research.

To be eligible for SURE-GM, students must:

  • be a rising junior with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident
  • be a member of an underrepresented racial or ethnic population in biomedical/behavioral research (see definition below)
  • be currently enrolled student in one of Alabama’s HBCUs (see list of approved institutions below)

Eligibility for entry into the program is based on the requirements outlined in the R25 Initiative to Maximize Research Education in Genomics: Diversity Action Plan (PAR-16-345): this program supports educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce in genomics. This funding opportunity announcement seeks to expose underrepresented students at the undergraduate, post baccalaureate and graduate levels to the foundational sciences relevant to genomics to enable them to pursue careers that span all areas of interest to NHGRI—genome sciences, genomic medicine and genomics and society.

Nationally, racial and ethnic groups who have been found to be underrepresented in biomedical/behavioral research include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiians, and citizens of the U.S. Pacific Islands.

Alabama HBCUs

  1. Alabama A&M University
  2. Alabama State University
  3. Bishop State Community College
  4. Gadsden State Community College
  5. H. Councill Trenholm Community College
  6. J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College
  7. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham
  8. Miles College
  9. Oakwood University
  10. Selma University
  11. Shelton State Community College
  12. Stillman College
  13. Talladega College
  14. Tuskegee University

During the training period, students will receive a stipend of $4,000/8-week summer experience. Housing will be provided each summer in shared university dorms with kitchens and private bedrooms.

Name: Absher, Devin
Degree: PhD
Rank: Adjunct professor/Faculty Investigator
Primary Department or Program: Genetics; HudsonAlpha
Research Interest: Genome-wide association studies and epigenomic analyses of chronic diseases


Name: Aslibekyan, Stella
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Epidemiology
Research Interest: Epidemiologic study design, integrating epigenetic data with other –omic and phenotypic data in the context of chronic disease


Name: Ballinger, Scott W
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Pathology
Research Interest: Mitochondrial genetics, damage, and dysfunction in cardiovascular disease development and susceptibility


Name: Barsh, Gregory
Degree: MD, PhD
Rank: Adjunct Professor/ Faculty Investigator
Primary Department or Program: Genetics; HudsonAlpha Institute
Research Interest: Genetic architecture of morphologic variation


Name: Bedwell, David
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Microbiology
Research Interest: Development of nonsense suppression therapies to treat genetic diseases caused by premature translation termination codons


Name: Bridges, S. Louis
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Immunology and Rheumatology
Research Interest: Pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; immunogenetics and biomarkers of the treatment response


Name: Brown, Elizabeth E
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Pathology
Research Interest: Molecular and genetic epidemiology of immune-mediated clinical phenotypes


Name: Bullard, Dan
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Genetic/genomic mechanisms by which adhesion molecules regulate inflammatory disease


Name: Chen, Jake
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Systems Biology, data mining, advanced visual analytics for complex human disease applications


Name: Chong, Zechen
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Genomics, bioinformatics, structural variations, genomic algorithms


Name: Cimino, James
Degree: MD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Medicine
Research Interest: Informatics; improving clinical decision making and health data capture


Name: Cooper, Gregory
Degree: PhD
Rank: Adjunct Professor/ Faculty Investigator
Primary Department or Program: Genetics; HudsonAlpha Institute
Research Interest: Functional genomics and comparative sequence analysis to identify disease-causing mutations


Name: Cron, Randy
Degree: MD, PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Pediatrics
Research Interest: Genetic defects in lymphocyte cytolysis in macrophage activation syndrome


Name: Crossman, David
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Bioinformatic analyses of genomic and proteomic data sets


Name: Crowley Michael
Degree: PhD
Rank: Assoc. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Genomic technologies


Name: Day, Jeremy
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Neurobiology
Research Interest: Activity-dependent epigenetic regulation in neurons; epigenomic and transcriptomics of defined brain circuits


Name: Edmonds, Mick
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Cancer genetics


Name: Fouad, Mona
Degree: MD
Rank: Professor and Sr. Associate Dean
Primary Department or Program: Preventive Medicine
Research Interest: Elimination of disparities in cancer morbidity and mortality in woman and minorities


Name: Hartman, John L IV
Degree: MD
Rank: Assoc Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Gene-gene, gene-environment and genedrug interaction in phenotypic expression and disease


Name: Hjelmeland, Anita
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Cell, Integrative and Dev. Biology
Research Interest: Targeting brain tumor initiating cells and the tumor microenvironment


Name: Irvin, Ryan
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Epidemiology
Research Interest: Pharmacogenetics of antihypertensive


Name: Kesterson, Robert
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Hypothalamic control of feeding behavior


Name: Kimberly, Robert
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Immunology and Rheumatology
Research Interest: Genetic architecture of risk for autoimmune disease; pharmacogenomics of responses to therapeutic monoclonal antibodies


Name: Klug, Christopher
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Microbiology
Research Interest: Hematopoietic stem cell biology, acute leukemia, and pancreatic cancer


Name: Korf, Bruce
Degree: MD, PhD
Rank: Professor and Chairman
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Mutation-guided therapeutics; genetics and genomics education, integration of genetics into medical practice


Name: Lamb, Neil
Degree: PhD
Rank: Adjunct Professor / Faculty Investigator
Primary Department or Program: Genetics/ HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
Research Interest: Creates innovative teacher training, student experiences, public enrichment, classroom kits and digital resources that re-shape how science education is delivered.


Name: Leftkowitz, Elliot J
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Microbiology
Research Interest: Utilizing computational tools and bioinformatics techniques to better understand microbial genomics and evolution


Name: Leier, Andre
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Computational biomedicine, disease modelling, membrane biophysics, bioinformatics


Name: Levy, Shawn
Degree: PhD
Rank: Adjunct Professor / Faculty Investigator
Primary Department or Program: Genetics; HudsonAlpha Institute
Research Interest: Technology development and automation; informatics, and genomic variation


Name: Limdi, Nita
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Neurology
Research Interest: Define the influences of genomic and environmental factors on Warfarin dose; cardiovascular epidemiology and pharmacoepidemiology


Name: Liu, Gang
Degree: PhD
Rank: Assoc. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Med Pulmonary / Allergy / Critical Care
Research Interest: Roles of non-coding RNAs 9ncRNAs) in pulmonary inflammation, injury, and repair


Name: Lubin, Farah
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Neurobiology
Research Interest: Epigenetic regulation of memory and its disorders


Name: Marquez-Lago, Tatiana
Degree: PhD
Rank: Assoc. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Translational systems biology (customized predictive models and algorithms), gene expression, and bio-engineering


Name: May, Tom
Degree: PhD
Rank: Faculty Investigator
Primary Department or Program: Genetics; HudsonAlpha Institute
Research Interest: Researches issues at the intersection of medicine, public health, and moral / social / political philosophy


Name: Might, Matthew
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Personalized Medicine Institute
Research Interest: Static analysis, compilers, functional programming, cybersecurity, information security, optimization, medical robotics, parallelism, high-performance computing, scripting languages, dynamic languages and genetics


Name: Myers, Richard
Degree: PhD
Rank: Adjunct Professor/ Director
Primary Department or Program: Genetics; HudsonAlpha Institute
Research Interest: Genomic and genetic analyses of human traits and diseases


Name: Nakano, Mariko
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Medical Education
Research Interest: Ethics, moral philosophy, bioethics


Name: Ojesina, Akinyemi I
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Epidemiology
Research Interest: Translational genomics, integrative molecular epidemiology, oncology, infectious diseases, global health


Name: Parant, John
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Pharmacology and Toxicology
Research Interest: Impact of genomic instability on human disease


Name: Payami, Haydeh
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Neurology
Research Interest: Genome-wide gene-environmental interaction studies in neurodegenerative disorders


Name: Rokosh, Gregg
Degree: PhD
Rank: Assoc. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Cardiology
Research Interest: G-protein coupled receptor signal transduction and cardiovascular function


Name: Shreshta, Sadeep
Degree: PhD, MHS, MS
Rank: Assoc Professor
Primary Department or Program: Epidemiology
Research Interest: Epidemiology, infectogenomics, vaccinogenomics, pharmacogenetics, and immunogenetics


Name: Singh, Keshav
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Genetics of mitochondrial energy metabolism; roles of mitochondria in aging, energetics, oncogenesis, and other diseases


Name: Standaert, David G
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor / Chairman
Primary Department or Program: Neurology
Research Interest: Evaluation of novel therapeutics, genetic and genomic studies, and identification of biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases


Name: Sudarshan, Sunil
Degree: MD
Rank: Assoc. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Nephrology
Research Interest: Understanding the molecular basis of renal cancer


Name: Tiwari, Hemant
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Biostatistics
Research Interest: GWAS, structural variations and epigenetics, pharmacogenetics / pharmacogenomics, exome sequencing, bioinformatics, and metabolomics


Name: Tollefsbol, Trygve
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor
Primary Department or Program: Biology
Research Interest: Cancer and aging epigenetics; modifications of epigenetic regulatory mechanisms


Name: Townes, Tim M
Degree: PhD
Rank: Professor / Chairman
Primary Department or Program: Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
Research Interest: Regulation of gene expression during development; hemoglobinopathies


Name: Wang, Lizhong
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Genetics
Research Interest: Identification of cancer-causing genes, targets, and pathways


Name: Worthey, Elizabeth
Degree: PhD
Rank: Associate Professor
Primary Department or Program: Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
Research Interest: Development and application of omic, informatic, and data science-based methods and technologies


Name: Yang, ShihHsin
Degree: MD
Rank: Assoc. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Medicine
Research Interest: Identification of new cancer biomarkers to inform and guide therapy in medicine approach


Name: Zhi, Degui
Degree: PhD
Rank: Asst. Professor
Primary Department or Program: Biostatistics
Research Interest: Developing novel methods for modeling and analysis of complex modern genomics data for the study of complex human diseases

Applications will be accepted each year for a summer cohort beginning in 2019 and ending in 2022. Four cohorts of 12 trainees each will be selected to participate in a two-year experience. The SURE-GM Scholar application can be accessed by going to: https://www.uab.edu/medicine/physci/undergraduate-student-opportunities/uab-sure-gm-summer-undergraduate-research-experience-in-genomic-medicine

June 8, 2020 at HudsonAlpha in Huntsville, Alabama.

Jenifer Ferguson, PhD
Workforce Development Specialist, Educational Outreach
jferguson@hudsonalpha.org
(256) 327-5206

Shaila Handattu, PhD
Program Director III
Department of Genetics
hande@uab.edu
(205) 934-9417 • Work

Daniel C. Bullard, PhD
Associate Dean, Graduate School
dcbullard@uab.edu
phone (205) 934-7768