Biology's Innovative B-cubed Program Expands with Two New Students

In the fall of 2010, we introduced the inaugural members of the Biology Department’s innovative initiative, the Biology and Biotechnology Bridge Program (B³, pronounced B-cubed), a two-year post-baccalaureate program based on collaboration between the Biology Department and our local biotech partners.

The goal of the B³ program is to provide additional research and academic preparation to talented individuals from minority groups and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to prepare them for the country’s most competitive biological and biomedical Ph.D. programs.

B³ includes two components: an academic component for which MIT has developed a curriculum consisting of eight life sciences courses, each equivalent to a standard MIT undergraduate course, and a hands-on research and training component, which is conducted at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Cambridge. Brigitta Tadmor, Vice President and Global Head, Diversity/ Inclusion and Health Policy at Novartis, notes that “for us this is great opportunity to open our labs to scientific talent from places we typically don’t recruit from and to offer our researchers the opportunity to host and mentor a B³ student.”

Additionally, MIT and Novartis each assign mentors for the students, and we are pleased to announce that the new MIT faculty mentor is Mary-Lou Pardue. Professor Pardue replaces Frank Solomon, who has been in that role since the program’s founding.

This fall, the Biology and Biotechnology Bridge Program welcomed two new students, German Velez and Ana Berglind, who bring the total number of students to six. German and Ana now join Jonathan Baffoe, Shekelia Baccus, Tavina Claiborne, and Monika Avello, continuing participants in the program.