NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Colgate University said today that it plans to use a $1.2 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to get its undergraduates started in systems biology research.
The school will use the funds to offer undergrads the option to major in mathematical biology beginning in the fall of 2009.
Colgate will hire a tenure-track systems biologist with a joint appointment in math and biology who will develop courses, lab modules, and new teaching tools related to this specific field.
The school said associate professor of biology Kenneth Belanger will direct the HHMI biology program, which also will include a science outreach for K – 12 teachers and pre-college students.
“People have been using math to look at interactions within living systems, but systems biology allows one to ask very large questions about very complex sets of interactions between genes, proteins, cells, organism, and even populations,” Belanger said in a statement.
The programs will include summer research opportunities at the university, a series of systems biology speakers, a 10-week summer research program at the National Institutes of Health, and participation in an NIH Study Group.
The school said the program follows the opening of the new Robert H.N. Ho Interdisciplinary Science Center, which includes classrooms, research and teaching labs, and space for five different science departments, including a visualization lab focused on 3D scientific animations. The HHMI grant also will fund development of the VisLab animations by both Colgate students and faculty.