UD Education News: HHMI Award Supports Undergraduate Discovery

imated 16 undergraduates-including one from Lincoln University and one from Delaware State University-will pursue biomedically related summer research projects at UD, thanks to HHMI. Students who submit promising research proposals will receive $3,000, plus $750 for supplies. Faculty from various departments will mentor the HHMI scholars, so that a student investigating, say, protein folding, might work with a chemist, a chemical engineer, a mathematician and others.

"We want to promote diversity," Usher says, "and so we're involving other universities with predominantly minority student populations. We hope that someday we'll see more minority students going into basic research fields, getting their Ph.D.s. This program is one step in that direction."

  • Outreach to High School Students. With terms like "DNA fingerprinting" now in common use, Usher says, "Molecular biology impinges on everyday life." Unfortunately, he adds, "It's not very portable!" That's why Usher teamed up with other UD faculty to develop the Virtual Van-a mobile classroom with laboratory facilities.

    Teenagers will be introduced to basic principles of human heredity and development by learning about DNA fingerprinting. First, they will watch a video illustrating techniques. "Students will then investigate a fictitious murder, using mouse blood," Usher says. "They will have to match up DNA in a blood sample to identify the murderer. The samples will be analyzed at UD, and the results will be posted on the World Wide Web. We'll involve mathematics teachers to statistically analyze the samples and social studies teachers to discuss ethical issues related to DNA fingerprinting."

  • Faculty Development and Use of Active Learning Tools. Some five faculty members annually will be selected for the next four years to receive $1,000 and to participate in the University's Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education. The funds may be used for equipment such as a laptop computer, to supp

  • Contact: Ginger Pinholster
    (302) 831-6408
    University of Delaware

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