University of Alaska Fairbanks

The goal of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ BLaST (Biomedical Learning and Student Training) program is to enhance undergraduate training and mentoring in biomedical research through increased diversity of students, increased integration of research and teaching, and enhanced integration of rural campuses into a cohesive biomedical community in Alaska.

BLaST will enhance capacity for undergraduate biomedical research training and efficacy for engaging students from diverse, especially rural Alaskan, backgrounds in education and training for biomedical research careers. BLaST is one of ten NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Awards. BUILD is a set of experimental training awards designed to attract students from diverse backgrounds into the biomedical research workforce and encourage them to become future successful researchers and practitioners.

BLaST has a focus on One Health and on Alaskan subsistence. One Health emphasizes that human, animal and environmental health are inextricably linked, and it promotes a strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications to attain optimal health for all. Subsistence relates to the customary and traditional harvest, processing, and use of wild resources for food, raw materials, tools, and other purposes which have provided for the cultural, spiritual, physical, and economic survival of Alaska Native peoples for over ten thousand years.

BLaST supports undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, post-docs, and staff at UAF in many ways: though full scholarships for undergraduate BLaST scholars, summer research experiences, One Health workshops throughout rural Alaska, and undergraduate travel and research experiences. Current undergraduate BLaST scholars have research interests that include neuroscience, hibernation, DNA repair, reproductive issues, cardiovascular health, human health and wellness, exercise physiology, wildlife populations and pathology, and subsistence animals.

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