Chemists attract training grants to WSU


“I had the will to a Ph.D., but not the way,” says second-year graduate student Garry Leonard.

Leonard was involved with an undergraduate training program at California State University. He came to Wayne State in 2020 to take advantage of graduate training programs that involve peer groups of students with similar aspirations.

Through the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program, he joined a diverse pool of students and mentors to build the skills and confidence to successfully transition to careers in the biomedical workforce.

The program is directed by Joseph Dunbar and was recently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with leadership by Stephen Lanier, vice president for research at Wayne State University, and Michele Cote of the Karmanos Cancer Center, along with chemistry faculty Christine Chow.

Building on the strong history of training through the IMSD program, chemistry faculty recently secured two additional NIH-funded training grants. Mary Kay Pflum and Chow initiated a doctoral student training program focused on multidisciplinary research and skills at the Chemistry Biology Interface. Chemistry faculty and chair Matthew Allen, along with Lori Pile in the Department of Biological Sciences, obtained a Maximizing Access to Research Careers grant to provide research experiences to the diverse undergraduate population at Wayne State, similar to the program that inspired Leonard to pursue his Ph.D. in chemistry.

By Mary Kay Pflum and Christine Chow

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