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Program Activities


Discovery PREP provides intensive research experience and training as well as formal opportunities to enhance scholarly and professional development. The program is designed to maximize necessary skills and the confidence to thrive in a research intensive biomedical science doctorate program. To provide a road-map for success, trainees work with the research mentors and program directors to form an Individual Development Plan (IDP). This plan addresses the trainees’ five year goals and accounts for the strengths and impediments that may impact admission and success in a competitive PhD program.  In addition to tailored training programs as prescribed by the IDP, PREP activities include: 

Rotations: After orientation, trainees conduct research for two weeks (each) in prospective laboratories chosen from the Discovery PREP faculty mentor list. Lab selection is based on individual research interests. All prospective Discovery Prep Mentors are nationally renowned and run active and dynamic laboratories. Mentors have research interests in Cancer Biology, Neurological Injury and Disease, Cardiac Physiology, Immunology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, and Cell Biology. All prospective research mentors have experience training Undergraduates, Graduate students, and Postdocs and are committed to the mission of Discovery PREP. Generally, trainees rotate in two to three laboratories (two weeks each) and then a research mentor is selected for the remainder of Discovery PREP. 

Lab Immersion: Within four to six weeks of starting in Discovery PREP, scholars officially join a lab and immerse themselves in their research for the remaining appointment. Scholars have the opportunity to work side by side with post docs, graduate students, MD/PhDs, and undergraduates.  PREP trainees actively participate in meetings and journal clubs held by their host labs and work towards preparing their research findings for presentation at local meetings, national meetings, and publication. 

One-on-One Career Counseling: Discovery PREP participants work one-on-one with experienced counselors and investigators to fortify such skills as resume and statement writing, preparing applications for doctoral programs, interviewing, and personal reference building in the scientific community.


Career Development Workshops: These workshops help fine-tune the skills necessary for successful career development. They are designed to enhance verbal abilities, bolster writing and communication skills, improve study habits, fortify interviewing skills, and foster techniques for critical and analytical thinking. These workshops are conducted in collaboration with the Career Counseling and Support Services office in the Younkin Success Center at OSU. A few examples of the sessions include Informational Interview, Networking Tips, How to Evaluate Graduate Programs, How to Apply to Graduate Programs, and How to Interview for Graduate School.

GRE study sessions and materials library: Discovery PREP trainees are provided access to self-paced GRE test preparation and individual tutoring, if necessary.

Participation in a Graduate Course: Discovery Prep trainees observe the core didactic course of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Participation in this course supplements and reinforces the knowledge learned in the host laboratory and allows participants a glimpse into the academic rigors of graduate school. 

Participation in Discovery PREP Journal Clubs and Research in Progress: During the second academic semester, participants take part in the Discovery PREP journal club and research in progress. Trainees learn to read, master, and prepare PowerPoint presentations from primary literature. The Trainees have the opportunity to discuss pertinent scientific papers and receive practical tips to streamline reading of scientific papers. The trainees also practice presenting their work and receive constructive criticism and support from additional research investigators. 

Access to Peer Mentors: Discovery PREP provides access to graduate student mentors who understand the challenges facing graduate students today and can offer practical advice for studying, applying to graduate school, and performing research within an academic setting.