University News
For Immediate Release: 
May 09 2006

Concord University Receives Three Science Grants Totaling More than $100,000

Athens, W.Va.-Concord University recently received three separate grants totaling $120,826 for state-of-the-art research equipment for its natural sciences division. The equipment will be used for both instruction and undergraduate research.

“These grants will help modernize the equipment in the chemistry department,” said Dr. Darrell Crick, assistant professor of chemistry, who coordinated the grant requests. Access to the new equipment will allow students to be better prepared to enter the workforce or pursue graduate studies, according to Crick.

Dr. Darla Wise, associate professor of biology, and Dr. Joe Saunders, assistant professor of chemistry, also worked extensively to complete the grant applications.

The first grant is from West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (WVEPSCoR) for the purchase of gas chromatographic instrumentation. This research-grade instrument separates and analyzes very small quantities of materials and is commonly used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. The grant will be matched by a $7,500 institutional commitment from the Division of Natural Sciences.

The second grant is from West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE), a National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded project. It provides $48,456 to purchase equipment and a second portion of $10,000 for supplies and student wages to conduct research.

The third grant is also from WV-INBRE and consists of a $47,420 award for the purchase of a liquid chromatography system for separation and analysis of bioactive compounds from plants.

Concord University went through an evaluation last spring to become a Network Outreach Institution (NOI) within the WV-INBRE network. As an NOI, Concord faculty and students can apply for summer research positions with faculty at Marshall University and West Virginia University and can apply for pilot grants to conduct research at the NOI. The second and third grants are part of the pilot program. Faculty and students will conduct the research at Concord during the summer of 2006 and the 2006-2007 academic year.

The instrumentation will accelerate a fledgling undergraduate research program at Concord that will examine possible medicinal uses of Appalachia plants, some of which have a history of use by early settlers and Native Americans. The antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties of selected plants will be examined. Preliminary research has been completed by two Concord students participating in the McNair Scholars Program, a federally funded TRiO program that promotes undergraduate research and preparation for post-baccalaureate study. They recently presented their research at the annual symposium held at Concord University.

“Many Concord science students are preparing for careers in the health professions or biomedical research and have a strong interest in their Appalachian heritage” said Crick, noting that this research falls right in line with those interests.

Crick also shared that while undergraduate research has been somewhat optional in the past that is now less true.

“Many graduate and professional schools now require undergraduate research experience for admission,” said Crick.

“Participation in research keeps faculty current in their field, helps maintain modern equipment holdings, is of great interest to students and puts all they’ve learned into practice,” Crick added.

Initially, the equipment will be used in upper-level research and laboratory classes, according to Crick, but he and other faculty members plan to incorporate its use into the freshman-level general studies science courses so that all students will benefit.

“We are excited to learn that Dr. Crick's recent grant proposals have been recommended for funding,” said Dr. Joseph L. Allen, division chair for natural sciences. “These grants were competitive and will enable us to obtain more than $110,000 worth of analytical instrumentation for undergraduate research and courses in chemistry. Updating our labs at Concord is vital in order to remain current and will also benefit new programs in recombinant gene technology and environmental geosciences that have recently been implemented in the Division of Natural Sciences.”

For more information, contact Dr. Darrell Crick at 1-800-344-6679 extension 5169, 1-304-384-5169 or dcrick@concord.edu.

-CU-

CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Jesse Call, a student majoring in political science and history, wrote this press release. His hometown is Pocahontas, Va.

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