This program is for students:

graduating from undergraduate institutions this spring which do not currently offer PhD’s in the biosciences
who want to pursue a PhD in neuroscience
Who are looking to get more research experience and help strengthen their grad school applications

Benefits of the program:

Bootcamp introduction to research
Near-peer mentorship from Neuroscience PhD students
2-year paid research experience
Access to both undergrad and graduate level courses (tuition paid)


The iDREAM Postbaccalaureate Program is committed to providing compelling research experiences and creative educational activities to enhance diversity in the NIH-funded biomedical workforce. A major goal of the program is to implement robust research experiences and advanced coursework to transform non-competitive postbaccalaureate URM students into highly competitive applicants for admission into research-focused neuroscience doctoral degree programs. This program is designed for UR groups that lack opportunities for intensive research experiences at their institutions. The program has a diverse spectrum of program faculty to provide robust research experiences to trainees, and on completion of the Program, our scholars will understand the culture of the biomedical research enterprise, and have skill sets to handle the challenges of pursuing a doctoral degree in a research-intensive neuroscience research program

History of post-baccalaureate research at Iowa 

In 2012, UI launched an independent post-baccalaureate research internship to provide a “missing link” in the continuum of campus programs. Termed the “research internship program” it enables recent college graduates to work for one year in laboratories as a means to gain a better understanding of the career path on which they wished to embark and strengthen their research skills. Each year 22-24 positions are approved for the entire campus. This program has positive outcomes in terms of the percentage of students who matriculated into health profession or graduate school.  The Neuroscience PostBaccalaureate  program (which will train at least 4 students/year for 2 years each) will fill a unique niche at Iowa by providing guided high-quality research experiences in the context of didactics and community building experiences aimed at making scholars competitive for rigorous graduate programs in Neuroscience. The program incorporates holistic training for helping students to engage all aspects of a Neuroscience research career, including skills like overcoming imposter syndrome. The program we have will not only help our participant trainees, but will also provide support for the kind of programming that will become accessible for other post-bacs as well. Further, the INI and program leadership will work to identify additional grant support, institutional funding, and philanthropic donations to expand and continue to expand and continue the program (since 2016 the INI has raised over $100Million in philanthropic support). We in the neuroscience community (leadership, faculty, post-docs, and students) have identified a core set of programmatic activities designed to facilitate inclusion for URM students into our supportive community through this program.

Strength of the Neuroscience Program at Iowa and Parent T32

An important aspect of the rationale for launching the Neuroscience Postbaccalaureate program at Iowa is the outstanding track record of the Neuroscience Graduate Program. The T32-supported (JSPTPN) Neuroscience Program has been in existence since 1984 and enjoys stable, veteran leadership, as the current Program Director (Dr. Tranel) has been in charge of the Program for over two decades (since 2000). With 52 preceptors, the Program benefits from a wealth of institutional resources, including state-of-the-art biomedical science facilities, a nationally prominent University Hospital, and leading programs in key affiliated departments, especially Biology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, and Psychological & Brain Sciences. A close connection with the MD/PhD training program (MSTP) enhances the quality of our Program, as a regular stream of highly qualified students matriculate from the MSTP (1-3 per year). Over a recent 20-year epoch, the program has graduated 98 students with a PhD, with a mean time-to degree (TTD) of 5.2 years. An impressive number of our graduates (51% since 1998) are in tenure-track academic positions, many at academic medical and/or research-intensive institutions and many at teaching focused universities and colleges. The Program has long emphasized a balance between breadth and depth of training; students must be conversant across all major facets of neuroscience in order to succeed. Neuroscience students have access to an outstanding faculty, drawn extensively from both basic science and clinical departments across the campus. The graduate program is highly cohesive, and unlike many interdisciplinary programs that suffer from institutional and geographic dispersion, our program is tightly coalesced and interconnected. The students are direct beneficiaries of this cohesion: they have regular direct access to expertise, perspectives, and approaches that cut across all different levels of the field, and students graduate from our program with the ability to think critically about everything from molecules to consciousness.