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DSU Neuroscience Program Receives $535,000 Grant

Friday, November 6, 2015

Dr. Melissa Harrington and Dr. Murali Temburni have been awarded a five-year, $535,000 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to establish an undergraduate research program in neuroscience.

The summer program, offered in partnership with the DSU-headquartered Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research, will be focused on recruiting undergraduates from underrepresented groups and integrating them into a vibrant community of neuroscience researchers across the state of Delaware.

Each year, 12 undergraduate students from Delaware State University, Delaware Technical and Community College and Wesley College will spend 10 weeks over the summer carrying out neuroscience research with faculty researchers at DSU, the University of Delaware and the Nemours, A.I. duPont Hospital for Children. The students will also have the opportunity to travel to present their research at a national conference such as the Annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience or the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM, an undergraduate research conference sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the Delaware Neuroscience Symposium.

Dr. Harrington, the principal investigator of the grant, said that it is documented that the best way to get students excited about science and focused on becoming part of the next generation of scientific researchers is to give them hands-on experience  working in a research lab tackling a real scientific problem.

“That is why we are so excited about our new program. It will give students at DSU, DTCC and Wesley the chance to be a part of our Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research by working on a research problem in neuroscience with the supervision and mentorship of the neuroscience researchers affiliated with our center,” Dr. Harrington said. “Our expectation is that our program is going to give these students the desire to go onto graduate school in neuroscience, as well as give them the skills and experience so that they can succeed there.”

The Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research is an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, virtual center founded in 2012 with support from a grant from the National Institutes of Health.  

Information and application forms for interested students will be available through the Neuroscience Center website (www.delawareneuroscience.org) in early November.  Students will be selected for the program in April and over the following month will have the opportunity to meet with prospective mentors, hear about their research and tour their labs.  By the time the program starts in late May, the students will have selected a faculty mentor and identified the research project that they will work on full time for the 10 weeks of the summer program.

In addition to work in the lab, the program includes twice-weekly sessions on bioethics and the responsible conduct of research, career seminars and professional skills, as well as how to think like a scientist. By combining a high-quality research experience with participation in a neuroscience-focused community and skill-building activities designed to help students think like a scientist, the program will help build the students’ preparation and enthusiasm for graduating with a STEM bachelor’s degree and pursuing a doctorate in an area related to biomedical research.