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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a team of four biochemists a five-year, nearly $500,000 grant to support training and mentorship for educators to provide research opportunities for undergraduate students. The Graduate School’s Assistant Dean for Academic and Professional Development, Brian Rybarczyk, will serve on the steering committee and will provide insight and support.

Brian Rybarczyk, Ph.D.
Brian Rybarczyk, Ph.D.

This newly funded grant emphasizes support for faculty from under-resourced institutions with minority populations historically underrepresented in STEM fields. Research has shown that undergraduates engaged in scientific research have a higher likelihood of persistence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. By increasing students’ access to research in STEM fields, especially for at-risk student populations, the program will provide students skills that enable them to join the STEM workforce.

This grant will expand the community of faculty exploring the structure, activity, and interactions of the protein malate dehydrogenase (MDH) in course undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). The grant builds upon the success of research previously supported by the NSF, which engages a network of faculty from more than 20 colleges and universities across the country, collaborating in providing research-based course learning opportunities.

The four biochemists include:

  • Ellis Bell; University of San Diego
  • Lisa Gentile; College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University
  • Joe Provost University of San Diego
  • Amy Springer; University of Massachusetts Amherst

This new grant involves several additional faculty who will provide their expertise and leadership. They include:

  • David Hecht (Southwestern Community College, California);
  • Summer Hayek (University New Mexico, New Mexico);
  • Lauri Carey (Illinois Valley Community College, Illinois)
  • Jing Zhang (University Nebraska Lincoln, Nebraska);
  • Danielle Boland (MSI- University of Minnesota-Morris, Minnesota)
  • Valerie Carson (MSI-Hillsborough Community College, Florida)
  • Kristin Fox (Union College, New York); and,
  • Celeste Peterson (Suffolk University, Massachusetts)

Additional steering committee members include:

  • Tamera Mans, North Hennepin Community College, Minnesota);
  • Teaster Baird, San Francisco State University, California); and,
  • SueEllen DeChenne-Peters, Georgia Southern University (Savannah, Georgia).


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