ASU Bio Sciences Dept. gets $1.9 million grant

MONTGOMERY, Ala - (September 19, 2008) - Alabama State University's Department of Biological Sciences has been awarded a $1.9 million grant through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant will provide $1,925,498 in funding for ASU's Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) U*STAR Program from 2008 to 2013.

The MARC U*STAR Program at ASU is designed to increase the institutional number of graduates completing science doctorate degrees by at least 15%, and also improve the "PhD readiness" of the ASU's undergraduate scientific training pool, said Dr. Shree-Ram Singh, associate professor of biology.  He said the funds from the NIH will help support nine MARC U*STAR trainees annually over the five grant period.

"Funds from the MARC U*STAR program will be used to strengthen the training opportunities for science juniors and seniors," Singh said.  "It will provide stipends, research support, travel to meetings and many other professional development activities to students."

Singh said the program will provide students the opportunities to participate in mentor facilitated research at ASU during the academic year and other research during summer. He said the program will also benefit the entire faculty and student body within the Department of Biological Sciences through professional development seminars and workshops, scientific conferences, and sponsored programs through the BioMed Club.

"Faculty members in the department will be actively involved in training students both on and off campus through external collaborators," Singh said. "This will assist faculty in enhancing their research... take advantage of seminars, workshops, grant writing and other activities to strengthen research programs at ASU."

The MARC programs offer special research training support to four-year colleges and universities with substantial enrollments of minorities such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Hawaiian Natives, and natives of the U.S. Pacific Islands. The branch's goals are to increase the number and competitiveness of underrepresented minorities engaged in biomedical research by strengthening the science curricula at minority-serving institutions and increasing the research training opportunities for students and faculty at these institutions.

Information Courtesy: Alabama State University