DIRECT Program

Are you interested in obtaining a Ph.D. in the biomedical field? Learn more about the Diversifying Interdisciplinary Research Expertise through Community Building and Training (DIRECT) Program, an NIH T-32 program.

the leaders of the direct program standing on the lyceum steps.

The Diversifying Interdisciplinary Research Expertise through Community building and Training (DIRECT) Program

aims to develop a pool of well-trained scientists with the technical, operational, and professional skills required to conduct health-related research in an ethically responsible and rigorous manner and to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to enter careers in the biomedical workforce. The program is funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Graduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (GRISE) (T32).

About This Program

Interested in learning more about the DIRECT Program? Check out the information below!
Features of the program include:
  • DIRECT trainees receive an annual stipend of a minimum of $32,500 for the first three years, fully paid tuition, health insurance, yearly conference travel support (up to $1,000), and yearly reimbursement for childcare costs (up to $3,000). After the completion of the DIRECT Program, the admitting department will provide a stipend at the existing NIH recommended rates, with full tuition support, until degree completion.
  • A supportive community of scholars and advisors focused on cohort building, mentoring, and networking.
  • Development of academic, scientific rigor, presentation, communication, leadership, and social integration skills through various activities, including five program-specific didactic courses, weekly professional development seminar series, experiential learning, and workshops.
  • A paid summer bridge program prior to the first semester of graduate school that focuses on supporting a successful transition into graduate school and the University of Mississippi.
  • Exploration of career pathways in the biomedical fields through career development programming.
  • Independent research with dedicated mentors.
The application period for Fall 2024 is currently closed. We’ll be opening the application for Fall 2025 in the coming months. If you are interested in applying for Fall 2025, please complete this form. You will be notified via email once the application period opens.

Applicants must be a citizen or a noncitizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment.

Applications from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged. These groups include but are not limited to Black/African Americans, Latinos/Hispanics, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Filipinos, Vietnamese; individuals with disabilities, from rural communities, or disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds; first generation college students, and individuals who may be underrepresented based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

DIRECT Required Didactic Courses:

  • Research Methodology & Techniques
  • Ethics I
  • Navigating Your Research Experience
  • Scientific Writing
  • Ethics II

In addition to the above-mentioned courses, students must fulfill all graduate program requirements of the admitting department for degree completion.

DIRECT Required activities include:

  • Summer Bridge Program & Research/Lab Group Rotation
  • Weekly DIRECT Program Seminar Series
  • Workshops
  • Presentation of research at national and local conferences
  • Participation in experiential learning (internships, externships, or site visits)
  • Completion of an Original Research Proposal
  • Developing and submitting an NIH F31 Fellowship Application by year 3 in the DIRECT Program
  • Publishing at least one first-author manuscript prior to graduation

Ph.D. Biological Science

Ph.D. Chemistry

Ph.D. Health & Kinesiology

Emphasis areas: Exercise Science, Health Behavior

Ph.D. Nutrition & Hospitality Management

Emphasis area: Nutrition

Ph.D. Pharmaceutical Sciences

Emphasis areas: Environmental Toxicology, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacognosy, Pharmacology, Pharmacy Administration

Ph.D. Psychology

Emphasis area: Experimental Psychology

Ph.D. Biological Science

Dr. Joshua Bloomekatz -

Dr. Sixue Chen -

Dr. Erik Hom -

Dr. Yongjian Qiu -

Dr. Peter Zee -

Ph.D. Chemistry

Dr. Saumen Chakraborty -

Dr. Kensha Clark -

Dr. Penghao Li -

Dr. Vig Sundaresan -

Dr. Eden Tanner -

Ph.D. Health & Kinesiology

Emphasis: Exercise Science & Health Behavior

Dr. Hannah Allen -

Dr. Alberto Del Arco Gonzales -

Dr. Jeremy Loenneke -

Dr. Lloyd Wade -

Dr. Mary Allison Ford-Wade -

Ph.D. Nutrition & Hospitality Management

Dr. Yunhee Chang -

Dr. Melinda Valliant -

Dr. Nadeeja Wijayatunga -

Ph.D. Pharmaceutical Sciences

Dr. Eman Ashour -

Dr. Marie Barnard -

Dr. Paul Boudreau -

Dr. David Colby -

Dr. Robert Doerksen -

Dr. Soumyajit Majumdar -

Dr. Vitor Pomin -

Dr. Sujith Ramachandran -

Dr. Gregg Roman -

Dr. Courtney Roper -

Dr. Joshua Sharp -

Dr. James Stewart -

Dr. Kristine Willett -

Dr. Yi Yang -

Ph.D. Psychology

Emphasis: Experimental Psychology

Dr. Sarah Bilsky -

Dr. Stephanie Miller -

Dr. Rebekah Smith -

Dr. Joseph Wellman -

Meet the Team

If you need help or have a question, reach out to our faculty and staff team members.
Soumyajit Majumdar

Soumyajit Majumdar

  • Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs, Professor of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery and Research Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Marie Barnard

Marie Barnard

  • Associate Professor of Pharmacy Administration and Research Associate Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Shawnboda Mead

Shawnboda Mead

  • Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement
Melissa Rodriguez King

Melissa Rodriguez King

  • Program Manager