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Southwestern University Biology and Chemistry Departments Earn Prestigious Merck Grant

Southwestern University has been named one of 15 colleges and universities awarded $60,000 grants by the Undergraduate Science Research Program for collaborative work between faculty and students in the Departments of Chemistry and Biology.

The Merck Company Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science sponsor the program.

The Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program is a national competitive awards program available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Fifteen awards are made annually, and each award provides up to $60,000, paid over three years at $20,000 per year, for joint use by the biology and chemistry departments at each recipient institution. The funding supports research stipends for undergraduate students and ancillary programs that foster interactions between these departments.

Southwestern’s grant was secured by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Maha Zewail-Foote. She will be involved in two of the four collaborative efforts. Other faculty include: Assistant Professor of Biology Martin Gonzalez; Assistant Professor of Biology Maria Cuevas; Assistant Professor of Biology Max Taub; Assistant Professor of Chemistry Emily Niemeyer; and Associate Professor of Chemistry Gulnar Rawji. Students will be involved in each of these collaborations.

Launched in 2000 as a national competition, USRP awards will be made through 2009. This 10-year, $9 million initiative is funded by The Merck Company Foundation and is administered by AAAS. The program goals are to enhance undergraduate education through research experiences that emphasize the interrelationship between chemistry and biology; to encourage students to pursue graduate education in chemistry and life sciences; and to foster undergraduate programs and activities that bridge chemistry and biology.