$1.8 million grant to benefit College biology programsAward also increases student research opportunities The University has been awarded a four-year, $1.8 million grant by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to enhance the University's undergraduate biology programs and increase student research opportunities for underrepresented minorities and women. The grant will also fund University programs to strengthen pre-college biology, general science and mathematics education in community high schools.
The grant, which is the second consecutive grant the University has received from the institute, is part of $86 million awarded by HHMI to 62 research universities nationwide. This series of grants to research universities constitutes the largest amount of funds ever awarded by a private organization in support of science education for U.S. college students.
"We are delighted to have received this grant because it makes it possible for the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division to provide such wonderful research opportunities for our College students," said John Boyer, Dean of the College. "The fact that this is the second such grant we've received is a testimony to the success of the programs already under way. We're thrilled to be able to continue and expand these opportunities."
One portion of the Hughes funds will support the development of a computer-based image-analysis teaching laboratory where students can learn such state-of-the art imaging techniques as the creation of three-dimensional reconstructions of biomolecules.
"These types of imaging techniques have given researchers fundamental new insights in structural biology. This is not just a new way of looking at old material," explained Robert Perlman, Professor in Pediatrics and Master of the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division.
Another part of the grant will support the Student Research/Broadening Access program, which provides opportunities for students -- particularly women and minorities underrepresented in science -- to conduct independent research under the supervision of University faculty members. Forty-seven students, including students from the University as well as other institutions, participated in this program last summer.
The third part of the grant will support summer-seminar programs in biology, general science and mathematics for high school teachers and will allow local high school students to conduct supervised research in faculty laboratories. The biology program also includes a monthly series of lecture-discussions for students and teachers during the academic year and participation in the Science Teachers Exchange Project, which allows teachers to exchange ideas and information about classroom and laboratory teaching.