Welcome to the Río Piedras RISE Program

What is NIH-RISE?

In order to foster the development of a highly trained and diverse biomedical research workforce, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences provides funds for research training, career development, diversity and capacity-building activities through a variety of programs. The Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program is one of these programs and it provides funding for programs, such as RISE at UPR-Río Piedras, that design and carry out well-integrated developmental activities that increase the preparation and skills of undergraduate and graduate students as they advance academically in the pursuit of careers in the biomedical sciences. In the last decade, the Río Piedras Campus has been gaining wide acceptance as a major source of doctoral level scientists in Biology and Chemistry. The Río Piedras-RISE Program has been playing an important role in this endeavor and it is doing so by addressing the following objectives:

  • Increasing the number of undergraduate who move into biomedical research careers.
  • Strengthening the research and professional skills of undergraduate students in order to assure their future success.
  • Increasing the number of graduate students who succeed in completing their Ph.D.s and continue into postdoctoral experiences in biomedical research.
  • Increase the competitiveness of undergraduate and graduate students by strengthening their research, academic and professional skills.


To increase the number of students who become interested and fully participate in productive research experiences in biomedical sciences encouraging them to continue doctoral degrees and postdoctoral experiences.

Undergraduate Admission Requirements:

  • Major in Biology or Chemistry
  • Very high enthusiasm and an equally strong resolve in pursuing a research doctorate.
  •  Science GPA of 3.0
  • Maintain full time student status throughout each semester.
  • Prior experience in undergraduate research at one of UPR laboratories doing biomedical research for at least 1 semester.
  • Spend sufficient time in the laboratory to make adequate research progress (at least 15 hrs./week during semester and 37.5 hrs./week summer) in order to develop a full project.
  • Only UPR, Río Piedras Campus research mentors.
  • Present results at one scientific conference per year.
  • Undergraduate (sophomore and junior year) will apply to at least three summer internship in the US and participate in at least one outside research summer experience.
  • Prepare for Graduate (PhD) program admission by preparing for and taking the GRE.
  • No crossover between MARC and RISE accepted students.
  • Student progress will be evaluated each semester by the steering committee in order to assure research and academic progress.

Undergraduate Advantages:

  • Salary of up to $9,600.00 per year
  • $2,000.00 for travel to scientific meeting
  • $1,500.00 for research materials per year (for undergraduate students)
  • Opportunities to engage in university level research
  • Paid summer research internships off-campus at research universities
  • Travel to scientific conferences to present research results
  • Workshops on skills that will help you succeed in graduate school.
  • Assistance with:
    • GRE exams
    • Internships
    • Graduate-school applications
    • On site internship and graduate school recruitment
    • Oral and poster presentation techniques
    • Lab safety workshops
    • Technical Skill Workshops
    • English Writing and Scientific Communication Workshops

Graduate Admission Requirements:

  • Biology or Chemistry Major
  • Have demonstrated a high degree of excellence in academics and research
  • Be a full time student
  • GPA 3.00
  • Biomedical research project
  • Only UPR, Río Piedras Campus research mentors
  • Present results in scientific conferences
  • Pursuing a Posdoctoral Position


Graduate Advantages:

  • Salary up to $19,600
  • $2,000 for travel to scientific meetings
  • Special English course for paper publications
  • $2,000 for tuition
  • Travel to scientific conferences and symposiums to present research results
  • Graduate technical and scientific workshops
  • Workshops for professional development
  • Travel to visit an external laboratory to perform experiments toward the completion of thesis work, or attend special techniques workshops or courses.


Composition of Río Piedras RISE Steering Committee

Nestor Carballeira, PhDRISE Prog. Director | Chair Chemistry DepartmentChemistry Professor
Orestes Quesada, PhDRISE CoordinatorGeneral Studies Professor
Rafael A. Ríos , PhDDean, Natural SciencesEnvironmental Sciences Professor
José E. García-Arrarás, PhDBiology Graduate Program Coordinator Biology Professor
Jorge Colón, PhDGraduate Program Coordinator Chemistry Professor
Tugrul Giray, PhDChair Biology DepartmentBiology Professor
Dalice Piñero, PhDResearcherChemistry Professor
Valance Washington, PhDResearcherBiology Professor
Rafael maldonadoBiology Student RepresentativeGraduate Student
Jéssika PazolChemistry Student RepresentativeGraduate Student