Emory is one of 44 research universities in the nation to receive
a share of $80 million in grants from the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute (HHMI) that will help address the challenges of a rapidly
changing and increasingly complex interdisciplinary science field.
Emory received a four-year, $1.8 million grant that will be used
to support ongoing undergraduate research, mentoring and education
programs, and new program development. This is the fourth consecutive
time since 1989 that Emory has received the HHMI grant, one of only
a few universities to do so, according to HHMI.
The four-year grants to universities in 28 states and the District
of Columbia range from $1.2 million to $2.2 million each. A panel
of scientists and educators reviewed proposals from 189 institutions.
Receiving this grant is critical to the continued development
of our undergraduate science program, said Pat Marsteller,
director of Emorys Center for Science Education and the Hughes
Science Initiative. With the help of these grants, we are
achieving our goals to attract and retain more students in the biological
and biomedical sciences, particularly underrepresented minorities
and women. We also are better preparing them for careers in science
through a research-rich curriculum and enhanced research opportunities.
At Emory, the grant will be used to continue the development of
new interdisciplinary courses, including courses or concentrations
in bioinformatics, biotechnology, biostatistics, molecular modeling,
biophysics and intelligent systems. The University also plans to
develop an internship program for undergraduates, including an emphasis
on science writing and teaching, and expand its professional development
outreach to local high school teachers.
Nationwide, the new grants support programs that can become models
for bringing undergraduate teaching and research closer together.
The funds help expose undergraduates to emerging fields in biology
and to the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the life sciences.
The grants also support efforts to attract minorities to science
and to encourage them to choose scientific careers.
Biology is progressing so rapidly and interfacing with so
many other disciplines that undergraduate teaching runs the risk
of substituting quantity for quality, said HHMI president
Thomas Cech, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist. Through these
grants, the institute is providing resources to help universities
bring their undergraduate science teaching up to the level of their
This is the 10th round of HHMI grants to enhance undergraduate
science education and the fifth competition targeting research universities.
Since 1988, the institute has awarded $556 million to 236 colleges
and universities in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto