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K-State Using $1M for Genomics and Environment Fellows

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Kansas State University will use nearly a $780,000 grant from the US Department of Education to start a graduate fellowship for genomics, ecology, and evolution research that studies organisms and environmental change.

Supported by a 25 percent match of $196,000 from K-State's Division of Biology and its office of research and sponsored programs, the nearly $1 million program will cover sponsorships, stipends, research expenses, and tuition for seven graduate fellows.

The fellows will focus on interdisciplinary learning and training in the three subject areas in order to study how organisms can adapt to swift environmental changes. The students' studies will include genes and genomes that vary with natural selection, adaptations in form and function of organisms, and research into the roles organisms play in ecosystems.

"As environments change globally at a fast pace and in novel dimensions, we must react to critical problems with comprehensive and innovative solutions," K-State Associate Professor of Genetics Michael Herman said in a statement.

The training program will use resources at the K-State Ecological Genomics Institute, the Institute for Grassland Studies, and the Konza Prairie Long Term Ecological Research program.

The aim of the program is to begin to develop the "interdisciplinary breadth and depth of scientific expertise," specifically in genomics, ecology, and evolution, that will be needed to meet the complex environmental challenges of a "rapidly changing planet," K-State said.

The school plans to begin admitting the new fellows for the three-year program in the fall of 2010.