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The National Science Foundation, Collin College And UT Dallas Partner In Undergraduate Research

The National Science Foundation, Collin College And UT Dallas Partner In Undergraduate Research

May 18, 2012 – Collin College and The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) are partners in a $20,000 National Science Foundation grant which provides hands-on research opportunities for Collin College students. The Faculty Innovation grant is a component of a $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to increase graduates in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. The grant includes two principal investigators Dr. Jonathan Lawson, Collin College biology professor, and Dr. Juan Gonzalez, UT Dallas professor of molecular and cell biology.

“This is a unique opportunity for Collin College students to not only be exposed to cutting edge sequencing technologies at UT Dallas but to also engage in the discovery phase of science in class. These students are experiencing the excitement that research provides,” Dr. Lawson said.

Surprisingly, bacteria may hold answers to many of our current challenges, such as cleaner energy sources, better renewable materials and efficient pollutant removal. Currently, Dr. Lawson and Dr. Gonzalez are helping Collin College students sequence complete genomes of new environmental bacteria. Collin students have the opportunity to perform undergraduate research, sequence new microorganisms and publish their results in national databases. In addition, the research results will be incorporated into the Collin College microbiology curriculum.

“Partnering with Collin College in training their students with the latest cutting edge technology is very logical for us.  This program is designed to excite and prepare them to pursue advanced degrees in biology, and we hope that some of these students will come to UT Dallas to continue their studies,” Dr. Gonzalez said.

The grant engages science students through applicable research and portfolio enhancement early in their academic careers. Future microbiology students and the scientific community at large will benefit from the results of the research.

Collin College serves about 53,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.