Navigation Links
Pitt earns $1.5 million grant to educate, retain science students
Date:5/29/2014

PITTSBURGHThe Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced today that the University of Pittsburgh has received a $1.5 million, five-year grant to continue, develop, and create new lab-based biology courses aimed at retaining students in the sciences.

Pitt is one of 37 schools to receive funding through the HHMI's Sustaining Excellence competition geared toward improving science teaching nationwide. More than 170 applicants underwent three rounds of peer review before HHMI decided on the 37 recipients.

Graham Hatfull, the University's Eberly Family Professor of Biotechnology as well as an HHMI professor, is leading the charge to expand and develop course-based research experiences in the Department of Biological Sciences within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. The effort will build upon science educational activities funded by HHMI for the past eight years.

"In the past, and this will continue, students learned to 'do' science through an apprentice-based approach, working with a faculty member or a graduate student," Hatfull says. "What HHMI is aiming at is the sort of approach where you can develop a course-based research experience that can engage many more students and can do so at an early point in their college careerin other words, freshmen."

In its press release, HHMI reports that nearly 40 percent of the 3 million students who enter college annually intend to study science or engineering, but 60 percent of that cohort fail to earn their degree in a science or engineering field. Hatfull is optimistic that the HHMI funding will help reverse this national trend.

"Research indicates that it is effective to get students involved in lab work," he says. "If we can get to students in their freshman year and get them invested in research that will promote retention in the sciences. The earlier we get them, the bigger the impact it will have."

Nancy Kaufmann is the assistant program director in Pitt's Department of Biological Sciences for the HHMI-supported work. She says a portion of the money will be used to expand offerings of the Hatfull-created SEA-PHAGES course, in which students find, identify, and sequence the DNA of bacteriophages, the most abundant life form on Earth. SEA-PHAGES has been implemented at 70-plus colleges and universities around the country and a study reporting its success was published in mBio this year. Another course, already being piloted in Pitt's biology department and ready to be expanded, delves into the intricacies of aquaporins, proteins that control fluid levels in cells.

Kaufmann says the grant will also allow Pitt biology faculty to develop new lab-based courses, pay for summer research fellowships for undergraduates after their freshman year as well as the salaries of graduate teaching assistants and teaching postdoctoral students, and fund an already-in-place Research Hub lab where undergrads can do independent research.

"This is not something that we have to roll out as a huge initiative in one year," Hatfull says. "We're going to find out what works and try to achieve a sustainable structure that will change the way in which we teach freshman biology. We want to create a new 'normal.'"
'/>"/>

Contact: Joe Miksch
jmiksch@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Florida Tech biological sciences professor earns $257,000 NSF grant to study coral diseases
2. American Society for Microbiologys newest journal earns a high impact factor in latest rankings
3. Louisiana Tech University professor earns national honor from Society of American Foresters
4. Plan to turn farm waste into paper earns students $15,000
5. UI researcher learns mechanism of hearing is similar to car battery
6. Antiviral lipid earns patent
7. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program earns 2013 Award for Science and Technical Achievement
8. Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist earns APSs Walter B. Cannon Award
9. Indiana University associate professor earns APSs Henry Pickering Bowditch Award
10. NREL research earns 3 prestigious R&D 100 Awards
11. UK researcher earns 2013 Discovery Award
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/27/2017)... 2017   Strategic Cyber Ventures , the industry,s ... a $3.5 million investment in  Polarity , the first ... is DC based and is led by cybersecurity veterans ... Ron Gula , also a longtime cybersecurity veteran ... this series A round of funding. This new funding ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... BARCELONA, Spain , Feb. 24, 2017  EyeLock LLC, ... will demonstrate its elite iris biometric solution on ... with X16 LTE at Mobile World Congress ... in Qualcomm,s Booth in Hall 3, Stand ... contains the Qualcomm Haven™ security platform—a combination ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017 ... Family of Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature ... research study that will apply the power of IBM ... living and health centers. By analyzing data streaming from ... insights into physical and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... ROCKVILLE, Md. , March 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... Venture Fund (MBVF), today announced positive results of a ... standard drug therapy regimen in patients with multidrug-resistant pulmonary ... discovered by scientists at Sequella, Inc. ( USA ... A total of 140 patients were ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... LEXINGTON, Mass. , March 24, 2017 ... pipeline of immune checkpoint antibodies and cancer vaccines, today ... The 7 th  Annual William Blair and Maidstone ... Event Space Alexandria Center in New York, ... March 29 at 9:40 am: ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  SeraCare ... to global in vitro diagnostics manufacturers and ... the industry,s first multiplexed Inherited Cancer ... testing by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The Seraseq™ ... developed with input from industry experts to ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 NetworkNewsWire Editorial ... ... putting significant strain on health care systems, in terms of ... rises, so too does the development of innovative and efficient ... effects. Among the many types of cancer treatments, a growing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: