September 10, 2009
TORRINGTON, WY -
Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) has been awarded a $15,000 IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) grant through the University of Wyoming INBRE Network. Sponsored by the National Institute of Health Institutional Development, the grant is designed to offer valuable experience in research and to encourage students to consider a career in the biomedical field. INBRE also includes efforts to provide research opportunities for undergraduates at UW and the state’s community colleges through scholarships and technology upgrades.
According to EWC Biology Instructor Tina Christinck, principal investigator, the EWC INBRE proposal is based on a research project that will focus on extracting DNA from several sagebrush species that grow in eastern Wyoming. Students will follow the necessary steps to send the DNA to a facility to sequence common housekeeping genes from the plants’ DNA using the model available from Bio-Rad. This information about the sagebrush genome can be published in a DNA database called GenBank.
Christinck will be developing curriculum that will be part of a course for majors in biology or pre-professional studies. This will enable the science instructors at EWC to assess the research and critical thinking skills of graduates more efficiently and accurately.
“We plan to give students hands-on experience with modern molecular biology research equipment and techniques. This will aid in our assessment process and open some doors for scholarship and research opportunities for our students as they transfer to a four-year institution,” she said.
NABT (National Association of Biology Teachers) will host a conference in Denver, Colorado in November which Christinck will attend. “This will be a valuable resource as I develop curriculum that is tailored to meeting the unique needs of students at EWC. Hopefully the curriculum will meet the needs of not only biology and pre-professional students, but will be useful to students involved in the EWC Range and Wildlife Management Club as well,” she stated.
Christinck will also travel to Montana with other Wyoming INBRE investigators this month to attend the Western Region COBRE-INBRE Scientific Conference.
Dr. R. Scott Seville, Associate Dean in the Outreach School and Associate Professor of Zoology and Physiology UW-Casper College, is the Wyoming INBRE Program Coordinator and oversees undergraduate education and mentoring programs at UW and Wyoming’s seven community colleges. INBRE initiatives include developing greater collaboration with other western INBRE programs such as graduate and undergraduate exchange programs, a western regional consortium, collaborative cross-institutional courses, and enhanced access to core facilities across the region.