Researcher at a lab bench

Biomedical research lies at the heart of PREP@UCD

PREP@UCD scholars conduct individual, hypothesis-driven research in the labs of UC Davis faculty mentors.

Colorful depictions of plant mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes , with colors that correspond to subunit
CryoEM maps used to build the first structures of plant mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes (Complex I*, supercomplex III2+IV (top), complex III2 and complex IV (bottom) from Vigna radiata (mung beans) by the Letts lab. Colored by subunit

Faculty in PREP@UCD span the breadth of research in biomedical science.  All run active research programs, as demonstrated by major funding, and have outstanding records of mentorship of graduate students, undergraduates, and postbacc scholars who have advanced to graduate education.

To learn more about individual faculty research interests, please see the descriptions in the People tab.

Early in the program year scholars work with their mentors to frame and design a research project that could be completed by the end of the one-year program. The PREP scholar has primary responsibility for day-to-day research tasks as well as intellectual input into experimental design and conclusions. The project will test a specific hypothesis, closely related to a research project in the lab, with the goal of generating results that contribute to a publication.

Activities to supplement research

PREP@UCD scholars build their research skills primarily through interactions and experiences within their laboratory. In addition, we complement this hands-on and individualized instruction with cohort-wide activities that support scholars' research skills. 

PREP 2021-2022 cohort and Dan Starr
Scholars in the 2020-2021 PREP cohort and Fearless Leader Dan Starr. Every year, PREP scholars participate in the MCB T32 Training Program retreat at Fallen Leaf Lake for immersion in research presentations and networking. Photo: Gaya Gomes/UC Davis

Research presentations

Throughout the year, scholars build their skill in modes of science presentation that include an "elevator speech", chalk talk, and formal oral research presentation at the end of the program year. They also present posters at ABRCMS. For each, scholars work with PREP peers, faculty, and staff to refine their presentation. 

Journal clubs and seminars

In addition to journal clubs within the mentor's lab, PREP scholars participate as a cohort in the Future of Biology journal club. The Future of Biology journal club also involves guest faculty presenters who lead PREP scholars through a discussion of a paper that presents a novel or revolutionary idea or method. In addition, PREP scholars join visiting researchers from UC Davis biology research programs for weekly research seminars and panel discussions. Both activities broaden PREP@UCD scholars' understanding of key biological concepts and provide them with opportunities to engage in scientific discourse.