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Morgan State University has been dedicated to expanding its STEM program and they will be able to move their plans forward with the help of a newly awarded grant. According to HBCU Buzz, the Maryland-based historically Black university recently received a $499,999 grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant will support the growth of the institution’s chemistry, biology and engineering programs with a particular emphasis on research surrounding biofuel production. The funds will go towards a research project called Excellence in Research: Oxidative Stress Induced Impact of Cell-Penetrating Nanoparticles on Cellular Constituents in a Cyanobacterial Model. The university plans on using the grant to work towards closing the racial and gender gaps in STEM by providing mentorship and training for students at all collegiate levels from underrepresented groups. Project participants will receive training on-campus and at the National MagLab which is the largest and highest-powered magnet lab in the world.

The project is being led by Viji Sitther, Ph.D. who serves as a biology professor at Morgan State University and National High Magnetic Field Laboratory staff member Huan Chen, Ph.D. “This project enhances our research and scholarly activities as an R2 high research institution while providing our students with internship and graduate school opportunities,” said Hongtao Yu, Ph.D. who serves as the dean of the university’s School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. “At a time when sustainable, carbon-neutral energy sources are needed more urgently than ever, Dr. Sitther’s research is a valuable contribution not only to our university but to the world at large.”

There has been a major effort to advance STEM programs at HBCUs. In September, Spelman College received funding for the creation of a science, technology, engineering and math center. It was awarded by the Department of Defense.


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