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Wesley College Awarded $1.7 Million Grant

d5c6cfb583Wesley College has been awarded a $1.7 million IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) grant through National Instititutes of Health and National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH-NIGMS). The funding, which will be utilized through 2019, will allow Wesley to broaden its programs and support additional Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students.

“This funding is directly responsible for Wesley introducing a new minor in informatics – the science of data analysis,” said Wesley College Professor of Chemistry Dr. Malcolm D’Souza. The informatics minor relates to the collection, classification, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of recorded knowledge, useful in health-related and other fields.

In addition to the new minor, Wesley College will use DE-INBRE funds to:

  1. support undergraduates with credentials to enter the biomedical workforce and professional programs by providing academic-year research assistantships and summer internships;
  2. support faculty who include undergraduates in mentored research projects;
  3. provide travel support for faculty and students to attend and present outcomes of their research at regional and national conferences;
  4. continue to improve the laboratory infrastructure and provide some laboratory personnel support;
  5. provide funds to purchase glassware, anatomy and physiology models, bio/chem-informatics software/hardware, chemicals and supplies, and advanced instrumentation; and
  6. Wesley College will also develop an informatics minor and certificate program in collaboration with the UD Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB) and DSU.

Wesley has a comprehensive program of student support programs, including residence hall-based learning communities, undergraduate research opportunities and increased academic advisory staff all geared to foster student success.

The directed research STEM program, previously established through DE-INBRE led by D’Souza, involves 72 students in undergraduate research with a 92 percent student retention rate. Since April 2013, 62 percent of Wesley’s DE-INBRE students have begun or completed a bio-medically-relevant advanced degree. More than 80 percent of directed research participants have received competitive scholarships.

“The DE-INBRE undergraduate research component is well-aligned with institutional priorities at Wesley,” said D’Souza. Since 2002, 45 DE-INBRE supported students at Wesley in chemistry have earned national awards/honors and 41 undergraduates are co-authors on 40 peer-reviewed journal articles. The successful chemistry projects at Wesley will continue to be based on new science advancement. Such undergraduate research projects can lead to a better understanding of the core techniques that lead into the development and assessment of analytical methods typical in the biomedical industry.

Most recently, this past academic year, there were 28 STEM students (20 percent of total STEM population) involved in directed research. During each year of the proposed DE-INBRE-3 program, at least ten additional first-year STEM students or rising sophomores will be offered the opportunity to undertake biomedical research. Incoming students will be selected as part of their offer of admission, and rising sophomores will be invited by faculty members to apply to the existing directed research programs. All projects will culminate in a Scholars Day poster presentation. Scholars Day is an opportunity for the entire Wesley College community to come together and celebrate academic endeavors with presentations and performances that demonstrate scholarly achievements and research by students.

Wesley College is a United Methodist institution of higher education that seeks to be among the finest student-centered learning communities in the liberal arts tradition. For more information visit wesley.edu or call 304-756-2400.

Pictured Front row (from left): Wesley Professor of Chemistry Malcolm D’Souza, Catherine Gross, Dionne Williams, Megan Durrant, Mabel D’Souza, Jasbir Deol, Laura Malinowski, Wesley Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Stephanie Stotts, Brittany Kowalewski, James Welsh Back row: Ariel Bilbrough, Maitreyi Dave, Samantha Weber, Katelyn Null, Alora Wilson, Victor DeBarros, Kyle Frame, Wesley Professor of Mathematics Derald Wentzien, John Dougherty, Riza Bautista and Kwadwo Nsiah