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Biotech Center Awards $486K in 12 Education Grants

Students across North Carolina are getting hands-on introductions to futures in biotechnology through $486,000 in North Carolina Biotechnology Center grants.

The 12 Educational Enhancement Grants (EEGs) from the Biotechnology Center’s most recent round of awards, ranging from $6,000 to more than $85,000, include:

Research Triangle area

  • $72,533 to Michael Morgan, Ph.D., at Wake Tech Community College for biotechnology lab instrumentation at the BioNetwork Capstone Center.
  • $33,107 to Karen Guzman, Ph.D., at Campbell University to enhance her teaching of the relationship between biotechnology and the biology of the cell.

Eastern North Carolina

  • $71,621 to Xiaoping Pan, Ph.D., at East Carolina University to incorporate capillary electrophoresis into the university’s biotech education curricula.
  • $5,970 to Ulla Dittmar at Pitt Community College for lab equipment to enhance the teaching of cell-culture techniques.

Western North Carolina

  • $85,400 to Mark Venable, Ph.D., to advance the cellular and molecular biology program at Appalachian State University.
  • $36,801 to Kari Loomis, Ph.D., to revive the biotechnology curriculum at Mars Hill College.
  • $26,003 to John Grice for developing an agricultural science research course at Avery County High School. The course, “Growing Biotechnology One Student at a Time,” emphasizes the use of plant tissue culture to help boost Avery County’s plant nursery and Christmas tree industries.
  • $14,000 to Polk County biology teacher Jennifer Allsbrook to support the unique Magnolia Detectives project, in which students explore the genetic characteristics of an unusual stand of sweet magnolia growing in the region. This is in addition to a $2,000 grant she received last year for the project.

Greater Charlotte

  • $40,141 to Scott Schaefer, Ph.D., and Joshua Ring, Ph.D., of Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory to develop an intensive course in recombinant biotechnology.
  • $29,688 to help Charlotte’s Olympic High School Principal Angela Bozeman and science teacher Jeanne Smith develop a program called “Feeding the Biotech Pipeline.”

Piedmont Triad

  • $50,550 to Lesley Hamming, Ph.D., a Duke University law student and co-founder and director of the nonprofit science camp called NanoBusiness Talent. With the grant, Hamming will expand the camp aimed at inspiring high school and college students to pursue careers in nanotechnology – the study of engineering on a molecular scale.
  • $20,000 to Beverly Sanford, Ph.D., of SciWorks, a science center and environmental park in Winston-Salem, for a program called “Biotechnology and BrainWorks.”

The EEG program supports the design and implementation of biotechnology education activities and programs. K-12 schools, school systems, community colleges, private colleges, universities, museums and other groups with an educational focus are eligible to apply.

With this latest round of awards, the Biotechnology Center has provided nearly $6.4 million to educational institutions across the state to help students learn about the opportunities in biotechnology and expand the knowledge base and training of North Carolina’s workforce.

The Biotechnology Center has awarded 204 total EEGs since the program began in 1991.

The Biotechnology Center will issue its next round of EEGs in 2012. They'll be drawn from the most compelling applications from educators invited to apply, based on pre-proposals already submitted in the spring of 2011.