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HHMI awards $1.2 million to UF for undergrad education
Date:5/20/2010

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Imagine a chemistry professor and a neuroscientist working together to test a new drug to fight Alzheimer's disease, or a biomedical engineer working with an orthopedic surgeon to help patients walk again.

At the University of Florida, teamwork is often considered the shortest route toward solving human health problems. But more than that, novel collaborations can inspire students who are beginning their journey in the life sciences.

Today the Howard Hughes Medical Institute awarded UF a $1.2 million grant to support this collaborative approach through a dual-mentorship initiative within the UF-HHMI Science for Life Program.

The grant is UF's second undergraduate grant from HHMI. In 2006, HHMI awarded $1.5 million to UF to help establish a cross-disciplinary UF-HHMI Science for Life undergraduate laboratory, which recently opened in the new Biomedical Sciences Building on the Health Science Center campus.

The new funding from HHMI will give undergraduates the opportunity to learn how to scientifically approach human health problems by working with faculty members trained in different disciplines often a basic scientist and a translational scientist rushing to speed therapies to the clinic, according to Ben Dunn, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the College of Medicine and director of the UF-HHMI Science for Life Program.

"Mentoring is an important part of our approach," Dunn said. "Basically, this started when we were trying to help freshmen identify research laboratories across campus. Three professors from diverse fields come into a class to give short presentations about their work. We want to present the students a smorgasbord of options. We want them to hear a talk, be inspired and get in touch with the professors."

Now, students and faculty from eight colleges and 50 departments participate in the UF-HHMI Science for Life Program, Dunn said.
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Contact: John Pastor
jdpastor@ufl.edu
352-273-5815
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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