BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — LSU Professor Graca Vicente was recently awarded a grant of more than $2 million from the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, to continue Phase III of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, or IMSD. She is the Charles H. Barré Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemotherapy/Materials in the Department of Chemistry at LSU.
“The renewal of Phase III of the IMSD Program is giving us the opportunity to continue to provide research training and career development for LSU students,” said Vicente. “It is also an opportunity to build and promote faculty collaborations, develop partnerships with other training programs and increase minority representation in Ph. D. and post-Ph. D. programs across the world.”
Vicente serves at the director of IMSD, which provides research training, academic development and career opportunities in the biomedical and behavioral sciences to underrepresented minority graduate and undergraduate students at LSU.
LSU is one of a select group of universities in the United States to establish this program. IMSD has been supported since 2004 by the National Institutes of Health and Phase III, the third round of funding for IMSD, is funded through 2018. Phase I included a $546,000 award for four years (2004-2008) and Phase II was a competitive renewal for the following four years of $970,000 thousand (2009-2013).
Phase III differs from Phases I and II because, in addition to supporting the research of LSU undergraduate students, it also supports graduate students conducting research in the biomedical or behavioral sciences.
IMSD works to consistently produce graduates who rank among the most highly talented, motivated and productive research scientists in the nation. The LSU IMSD Scholars pursue successful research careers and leadership positions, and are among the most sought-after candidates nationwide for entrance into Ph.D. or post-Ph.D. programs.
“The IMSD Program has very special value to me because I am myself a minority Latino/Hispanic woman in the basic sciences,” said Vicente. “One of my personal goals has always been to increase minority representation in research, particularly in the basic sciences.”
She received her doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of California-Davis in 1990. She completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Bourgogne in France (1991), the University of Geneva in Switzerland (1991-1993) and ITQB (Research Institute) in Portugal (1993).
Her research interests include synthesis and investigation of physiochemical and biological properties of new fluorescent pyrrole-based compounds and their development for application in biology and medicine, such as bio-imaging, diagnosis, photodynamic therapy and boron neutron capture therapy of cancer.