Hunter Professors Win Major NIH Funding

October 14, 2010 | Hunter College

Two Hunter psychology professors, Regina Miranda and Vanya Quinones-Jenab, have won a grant of nearly $3 million for a program to encourage minorities and members of other underrepresented groups to pursue doctorates in the neurosciences.

The five-year, $2,832,356 grant was awarded by the National Institutes of Health as part of a $10.3 million project “to encourage and prepare individuals from diverse backgrounds” to pursue PhDs in a field that now has little diversity. The project will support a range of activities to increase student interest in the neurosciences.

NIH gave out five such awards. The grant to the Hunter team was the largest of the five. The other teams are from universities in Colorado , New Mexico , Puerto Rico and Texas .

Alberto Rivera-Rentas, Ph.D., a neurobiologist who oversees this and other training programs at NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, said, “We expect that these partnerships will serve as models for future NIH initiatives designed to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce.”

Prof. Miranda’s research focuses on the social-cognitive factors that lead to depression in adolescence and young adulthood by studying the way in which normal thought processes become abnormal. Prof. Quinones-Jenab is part of Hunter’s biopsychology and behavioral neuroscience doctoral program, which provides training for research and teaching in the field of animal and human behavior.