Butler University has been awarded a nearly $200,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to introduce three thematically linked courses into the molecular science curriculum.
The project, entitled “An Integrated Series of Student-driven, Research-based Undergraduate Laboratory Courses Linking Chemical Biology, Biochemistry, and Neurobiology,” will be under the direction of Drs. R. Jeremy Johnson, Geoffrey Hoops and Jennifer Kowalski.
The $199,942 grant begins May 1, 2012, and expires April 30, 2015.
The grant, funded by the Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science (TUES) program, will enable Butler to introduce new research-based courses in biochemistry, chemical biology and neurobiology. In those classes, the goal will be to have students tackle novel research questions and produce publishable results.
Among the projects, students will study the activity of enzymes necessary for tuberculosis infection and will study basic control of neuronal communication.
The new courses will serve as a bridge between the chemistry and biology departments at Butler. Some funds also will be used to purchase a new microplate reader, update the fluorescent microscope in biology, fund summer student research projects, and cover basic materials for all three courses.
“The goals of the grant are to introduce students to independent scientific research, to practice the skills necessary to be a successful scientist, and to excite students about science by involving them in big problems in science,” Johnson said.
The NSF grant is the latest is one of several Butler has received in the past few years, including:
— $108,000 for Psychology Department Chair (and current interim Provost) Kate Morris to study factors that affect whether people confront prejudice when they witness it.
— $561,983 to fund 20 scholarships for economically disadvantaged students from Indianapolis Public Schools and Pike high schools who intend to become scientists.
— $149,819 to purchase an instrument called a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer mass spectrometer and to integrate the organic and inorganic chemistry courses.