Neuroscience Postbaccalaureate Initiative

2019 Postbaccalaureate scholars Raquel Miralles, Dennisha King and Yessica Santana
Current 2019 Neuroscience Postbaccalaureate scholars Dennisha King, Raquel Miralles and Yessica Santana.


The OHSU Neuroscience Postbaccalaureate Initiative is a collaborative effort between the Department of Behavioral NeuroscienceVollum Institute, and OHSU Research & Innovation, and is aimed at providing sustained research experience and skills development for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. Scholars accepted as part of this competitive training opportunity will receive a mentored research experience as well as tailored support around academic and professional development.

  • Recent graduate from a 4-year college with no more than 36 months since graduation (graduating seniors are encouraged to apply)
  • Those that identify as an individual from an NIH historically underrepresented group in biomedical sciences (i.e., racial and ethnic groups: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Hawaiian Natives, and natives of the U.S. Pacific Islands; documented disability; underserved background: low socioeconomic status).
    • We follow the current NIH definition of underrepresented, which are:
      • Historically underrepresented minority in science
      • Documented disability
      • Underserved background (low income or first generation)
      • Learn more here

  • Commitment to one year neuroscience laboratory research experience
  • Interest in obtaining a graduate degree (Ph.D.) in a neuroscience-related field

Eligibility FAQs

I am an International student studying in the U.S. Am I eligible to apply?

Foreign national students are welcome to apply and you are eligible if you come from an underserved (low income or first generation) background. One caveat though is that if you are on a VISA, you will need to work with the university that you currently attend to apply for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) to extend it. We anticipate announcing the selected scholars by mid-March which should provide enough time to apply (approval can take up to 3 months).

I am interested in pursuing an M.D. or dual degree (Ph.D. + another), am I eligible?

At this time the postbac training opportunity is designed to provide experiences specifically targeting interest in a research career in biomedical sciences. As such, priority is given to applicants who are pursuing a Ph.D. In the future, we hope to extend this training to individuals interested in going to medical school and taking the clinician-scientist career path. If you are open to considering a strictly Ph.D. graduate program, please browse our research faculty profiles to determine best fit.

Accepted Scholars receive a competitive research assistant salary and health benefits, mentorship from faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and current graduate students, as well as a strong letter of recommendation from a research mentor and OHSU.

A “matchmaking" system will be used to identify potential research mentors with prospective applicants based on areas of research interest. To help Scholars transition into life in Portland, they will be connected with members of the OHSU and greater Portland community to ensure they have the accommodations necessary to feel comfortable, settled, and integrated into Portland life while completing a postbac at OHSU.

Related resource: Visiting and living in Portland

Summer term

  • Scholar orientation
  • Graduate program application prep

Fall term

  • Neuroscience bootcamp and retreats
  • Neuroscience Journal Club
  • Graduate program application prep

Winter term

  • Submit graduate program application(s)
  • Graduate course (optional)
  • Bi-weekly research skills enrichment

Spring term

  • Graduate program interview(s)
  • Bi-weekly professional identity enrichment
  • Graduate course (optional)
  • Completion of research paper
  • Research Week presentation


  • Mentor meetings
  • Events with diverse scholars at OHSU and in the Portland area

Required application materials include:

  1. A completed online application, including a short personal statement and research interest essay (each approximately 500 words max).
  2. A current curriculum vitae or resume.
  3. Two letters of reference from people acquainted with your work. One reference letter should be from a faculty research mentor. Reference letters must be submitted electronically in PDF format and by the due date.
  4. Unofficial transcripts, submitted electronically in PDF format and by the application due date.

Online applications opened Jan. 1, 2019.

The application cycle closed March 1, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Meet our 2019 Scholars

Yessica Santana

Yessica Santana , University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Pittsburgh postbaccalaureate program
Lab: Kevin Wright

Dennisha King

Dennisha King, Agnes Scott College
Lab: Vivek Unni

Raquel Miralles

Raquel Miralles, College of William & Mary
Lab: Skyler Jackman

Meet our 2018 Scholars

Rachel De La Torre, Portland State University
Lab: Marc Freeman

Katherine Thanyamongkhonsawat, University of Texas, Dallas
Lab: Henrique Von Gersdorff

Braim Luciano Vazquez, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
Lab: Damien Fair