Aug. 15, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 19

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    Howard Hughes Medical Institute provides grant to fund College program

    By Catherine Gianaro
    Medical Center Public Affairs

    The University recently received a $1.2 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to help address today’s challenges in undergraduate biology education.

    The award will help fund three components of the College’s biology program: summer research for 30 undergraduate students; developmental biology curriculum and faculty development; and a teaching program for postdoctoral fellows in the biology core program for non-majors.

    A panel of HHMI scientists and educators reviewed proposals from 189 institutions. Forty-four universities in 28 states and the District of Columbia received four-year grants totaling $80 million. This is the fourth consecutive renewal of this grant for the University.

    “Our award recognizes the extraordinary quality of our undergraduate biology program,” said Jose Quintans, Professor in Pathology and the College and Master of the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division. “The reviewers commented on our ‘novel interdisciplinary laboratories’ and the quality of the undergraduate research experience.”

    The HHMI grants support programs that can become models for bringing undergraduate teaching and research closer together, as well as exposing undergraduates to emerging fields in biology and to the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the life sciences.

    “Biology is progressing so rapidly and interfacing with so many other disciplines that undergraduate teaching runs the risk of substituting quantity for quality,” said HHMI President Thomas Cech, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist. “Through these grants, the institute is providing resources to help universities bring their undergraduate science teaching up to the level of their research programs.”

    The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a medical research organization, focusing primarily on biomedical research. HHMI employs 336 Hughes investigators, including seven at the University, who conduct basic medical research in HHMI laboratories at 70 medical centers and universities nationwide.