Month: August 2018

CICATS BUILD Scholars Present Final Projects

Pictured: CICATS 2018 BUILD Scholars with CICATS CEO Dr. Cato Laurencin

The Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative provides awards to undergraduate institutions across the country to implement and study innovative approaches to engaging and retaining students from diverse backgrounds in biomedical research.  In 2014, the National Institute of Health (NIH) granted 10 five-year BUILD (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity) awards.  The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) was one of the 10 core institutions to receive the award which led to the formation of the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity: Southwest Consortium of Health-Oriented Education Leaders and Research Scholars (BUILDing Scholars) program. Under the UTEP BUILD award, there are 13 Research partners, with UConn being the only academic institution from the northeast.

The third cohort of CICATS BUILD Scholars recently completed their summer research experiences. In addition to their summer research project, the Scholars attended weekly CICATS Summer Seminar Series lectures on topics such as research ethics and translational research, received additional personalized mentorship by M1 Mentors, and had the opportunity to present a poster of their research at UConn Health. The names and final presentations of our BUILD Scholars are as follows:

  • Luisa Castillo – laboratory of Dr. Leslie Caromile – “The role of Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) on One Carbon Metabolism of Prostate Cancer”
  • Gabriel Garcia – laboratory of Dr. Cato Laurencin – “Fabrication and characterization of electrospun PLLA/CAP and PLGA/CAP nanofiber blends for tissue engineering applications”
  • Janet Olivas – laboratory of Dr. Steven Szcepanek – “Searching for the elusive mycoplasma pneumoniae vaccine”
  • Joshua Preciado – laboratory of Dr. David Steffens – “Cognitive Variability and Brain Aging in Late-Life Depression”
  • Tania Miramontes – laboratory of Dr. David Martinelli – “C1QL1 synaptic protein mediating hyperacusis‐like behavior”

For questions about the BUILD program, contact Lana Angelo at