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Award Abstract #1229184

Acquisition of a Transmission Electron Microscope for Undergraduate Research and Teaching

NSF Org: DBI
Div Of Biological Infrastructure
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Initial Amendment Date: August 23, 2012
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Latest Amendment Date: August 23, 2012
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Award Number: 1229184
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Robert Fleischmann
DBI Div Of Biological Infrastructure
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
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Start Date: September 1, 2012
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End Date: August 31, 2015 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $462,588.00
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Investigator(s): James Foster jfoster@rmc.edu (Principal Investigator)
Grace Lim-Fong (Co-Principal Investigator)
W. William Martin (Co-Principal Investigator)
Kelly Lambert (Co-Principal Investigator)
Melanie Gubbels Bupp (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Randolph-Macon College
310 N. Center Street
Ashland, VA 23005-1502 (804)752-7268
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NSF Program(s): MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION
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Program Reference Code(s):
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Program Element Code(s): 1189

ABSTRACT

This NSF MRI grant funds the acquisition of a transmission electron microscope (TEM) at Randolph-Macon College (R-MC). R-MC is a small liberal arts and sciences institution with a long tradition of undergraduate student research. Faculty members maintain active research programs and mentor undergraduate research students in several ways, including credit-bearing independent studies, capstone research projects, and through the endowed Shapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program during the summer. Acquisition of a TEM will greatly enhance the research and teaching environment at R-MC by enabling undergraduate researchers to use state of the art equipment that will promote recruitment of students from all backgrounds into the sciences. Research projects to be supported by the TEM span a broad range of the life sciences and include: compartmentalization of mammalian sperm acrosomal matrix proteins to understand their role in fertilization; evaluating how parenting responses affect neuroplasticity in rats; ultrastructural analysis of motile cells in new fungal species; characterization of host-symbiont interactions in the bryozoan Bugula neritina and its bacterial symbionts; and understanding the regulation of autophagy in T cells during calorie restriction in mice. Collaborative research with investigators at other institutions will also be enabled. In addition, the TEM will be used in several undergraduate courses, including a new Advanced Microscopy course in which students will learn specimen preparation, digital image acquisition, and analysis of electron micrographs. Existing and newly developed outreach programs will engage students from local public schools in projects and demonstrations to stimulate their interest in science.

 

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