The UW School of Medicine has just received a boost in its ability to attract and develop the world’s best young scientists with a new gift from the Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation, a gift specifically for PhD students in the biomedical sciences.

The Curci Foundation has been supporting basic research in the life sciences for more than a decade. With this recent gift, they have selected three universities — UC San Diego, UC Berkeley and the University of Washington — to receive $1.78 million each for a two-year pilot program that will support an inaugural cohort of six PhD students in the biomedical sciences. Their goal is to increase representation of women and international students in the biomedical, scientific training environment.

“I think the foundation recognizes that the scientific community is an international one and that it’s crucial to support the inclusion of women and international students as part of this community,” says John Slattery, PhD, vice dean for research and graduate education and professor of pharmacology and medicine in the UW School of Medicine. He also notes that awards like this one are particularly attractive to international students, who aren’t eligible for federally funded training grants.

At the UW School of Medicine, almost all of the basic science departments have a PhD program. This award is a recognition of the quality of those programs and enhances their attractiveness to aspiring biomedical scientists. In turn, the entire research enterprise will benefit because trainees are critical collaborators. Most people are unaware, Dr. Slattery notes, how much graduate students contribute to biomedical research.

“We are very pleased to kick off this program in its pilot phase with three outstanding universities and look forward to helping them to attract more of the very best students to their graduate programs,” said Curci Foundation President Ron Rosequist.

“It’s wonderful to see a foundation that is committed not just to science, but also to trainees. It’s not often you see that.” says Slattery.

Written by Eleanor Licata

You can help too

Support graduate students in the life sciences at UW Medicine with a gift to The Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation PhD Fellowship. Your donation helps us attract the best and brightest students to our graduate programs, and it helps students pursue promising careers.