The Superior Opportunities for Maximizing Access (SOMA) to Neuroscience Program is named after the cell bodies of neurons housing the genetic programs for the critical functions of those neurons. The SOMA-Neuroscience program supports a deeper Hispanic/LatinX participation in neuroscience, and ultimately the pursuit of a neuroscience doctoral degree. Starting in 2022, we will select and invite a small group of interested students (3-7 students annually) from our four partner Hispanic-Serving Institutions, or HSIs (CSU Long Beach, CSU Los Angeles, CSU Dominguez Hills, and CSU San Bernardino) for an 8-week summer immersive, in-person experience at UCLA to do research in a host laboratory. To incentivize the SOMA fellow-UCLA faculty partnership, we provide UCLA mentors with summer research funds to purchase expendables and supplies to support their research, provided that the research objectives include the SOMA fellow. To incentivize the role of HSI partner faculty in preparing the SOMA fellow to participate in the summer research (through a joint journal club and lab meeting), we also provide summer funds to support their involvement in mentoring the SOMA fellow- which can be used flexibly for travel, cost of research, and/or instruction. And finally, to incentivize the choice of a UCLA Ph.D. for SOMA alumni, the BRI has committed to providing full stipend support for 1 entering SOMA alumnus admitted into the Neuroscience IDP each year of the grant. We also collect outcome data and disseminate our findings in poster form at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) annual meeting.

The requirements for acceptance into the program include:

  • A major in one of the natural sciences, including Psychology
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Academic transcript
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation from the science faculty
  • Summary of prior research, if any (500 words or less)
  • Summary of interest in neuroscience (1000 words or less)

In a separate file, applicants need to rank in order of preference, the top three research training areas: Addiction, Learning & Memory, Neural Development, Degeneration, Repair, Neuroendocrinology & Sex Differences, Neuroimaging/Cognitive, Synapse-to-Circuit, Computational & Systems Neuroscience, or Neurotechnology, themes found in Research Areas.

The program is run in conjunction with the BRI-SURE and the UC-HBCU Pathways summer program:

  • 8-week program (June 17 – August 10, 2024)
  • Applications are due by December 15 2023, with decisions announced by January 19, 2024. Please send it to Dr. Alicia Izquierdo (profizquierdobns@gmail.com)
  • To learn more about this program, please get in touch with Dr. Alicia Izquierdo (profizquierdobns@gmail.com) or Joseph Quintero (Jmquintero@mednet.ucla.edu)

Note that the link goes to the general portal for all UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)