A recent National Science Foundation grant of nearly $452,000 to Mississippi State is supporting a collaborative student research and mentoring program with three other Mississippi institutions.
Led by Erdogan Memili, an assistant professor of animal functional genomics in the university’s animal and dairy science department, the project also will involve faculty and students at Alcorn State and Jackson State universities, and Tougaloo College.
Ten undergraduate students will serve as research fellows in a year-round comprehensive training program in genomics and computational biology. They will work with faculty mentors to learn how to develop, conduct, write, publish, and present scientific research.
"Four undergraduate research fellows will be selected at MSU and two at each of the partner institutions," Memili explained. Participants will receive $12,000 a year, along with a research allowance, he added.
Memili said the students will work in laboratories 15-20 hours weekly during the fall and spring semesters. A portion of their summers will be spent in an intensive training program at MSU that, in addition to research, includes career counseling and social activities.
Other MSU faculty members working on the program include Susan Bridges of the computer science and engineering department; Attila Karsi and Mark Lawrence of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s basic sciences department; and Cetin Yuceer of the forestry department.
"Students trained in this program are expected to become leaders who will extend the frontiers of multidisciplinary knowledge and discovery in genomics and computational biology," Karsi said.
Ming Gao of ASU, Bettye Sue Hennington of Tougaloo and Raphael Isokpehi of JSU are faculty collaborators at the other institutions.
Hennington, a biology professor, said the program’s significance "is that researchers from three of the state’s historically black colleges and universities have teamed up with researchers at Mississippi State University to conduct collaborative research involving undergraduates."
She said the program "will result in joint publications and research proposals, as well as team-teaching, enhancing research and teaching infrastructure at the participating institutions."
Additional information on the grant may be viewed at www.urm.msstate.edu.