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uGPA impact on admission

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I am a first graduate student in a MS Biology program. Currently, I have a 4.0 gGPA and have received a handful of small grants/fellowships. No pubs as of yet. I intend to apply to PhD programs in biomedical sciences this upcoming fall. My uGPA was a 2.6. I took one gap year between completing undergrad and matriculating into the masters program that I am currently at. During that time I worked as a lab manager for a small liberal arts institution. Although I have made a complete 180 and have created this upward trend, is it enough to overcome the mistakes I made in my past? I am a CA resident and would like to stay in CA for my doctoral studies but all of the UCs have a uGPA 3.0 cut off and only in rare circumstances do they allow students in with a sub-3.0. I am unsure of what institutions outside of CA look for when it comes to admissions. I understand that most take a holistic approach and other than my uGPA I would like to think that I am a well-rounded motivated individual. But with a 2.6 uGPA, I do not know if who I am today will be enough to speak for my past. Any suggestions, advice?

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Sounds like you've already done the work of looking at the requirements of the various programs that you're interested in. You'll get the best and most qualified response if you go straight to the source. This is the kind of question that would be easy for a DGS to answer -- either a department will overlook a low uGPA is there's a high gGPA and other strong aspects of an application, or they will not. The best that we can tell you is that you may have some difficulty, but as a rule, students who exhibit an upward trend of improvement should be able to find something, but that still doesn't tell you where or how hard it'll be. At the end of the day, some of it will simply be up to luck and other factors we can't predict. 

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