|SOUTHEASTERN RECEIVES $359,257 IN REGENTS SUPPORT FUND GRANTS
HAMMOND – Seven Southeastern
Louisiana University faculty members have received grants totaling $359,257
from the Louisiana Board of Regents.
The Board of Regents Support
Fund awards include a research grant focusing on ways of controlling the
West Nile virus and the university’s first Awards to Louisiana Artists
and Scholars (ATLAS) grant.
Chemistry professors Jeffrey
Temple and Michael Doughty will receive $89,408 to study “West Nile Virus
Replication: RNA Polymerase Cloning, Mechanisms, and Inhibition.” Their
proposal was one of 35 funded from among 179 proposals.
Temple explained that West
Nile virus uses RNA as its genetic material rather than DNA. “Typically,
viruses enter into a host cell and use the host's replication enzymes to
propagate themselves,” he said. “West Nile virus, however, makes its own
replication machinery -- an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. After infection,
West Nile virus uses the host's transcription and translation, or protein-making,
machinery to make this polymerase, which then replicates the viral genetic
material, repackages it, and sends it on its way to infect other cells.”
Through the grant, Temple
and Doughty, assisted by Southeastern undergraduate and graduate students,
will study how the polymerase functions and, ultimately, how to inhibit
“The inhibition of
the polymerase,” Temple added, “will keep the virus from replicating itself,
eventually lead to its death, and, finally, its removal from the host.”
Temple said the results
of the three-year BOR-funded project will be used for a proposal to the
National Institutes of Health or National Science Foundation for major
funding to continue the project.
Southeastern’s first ATLAS
grant was awarded to English professor David Hanson. The ATLAS program
supports major scholarly and artistic productions with the potential for
national and regional impact. Hanson’s $45,625 grant was one of 14 selected
for funding from among 50 proposals and was the only ATLAS grant awarded
to a University of Louisiana System institution.
Through a cooperative agreement
with the United Kingdom’s Lancaster University, Hanson will use the funds
to produce an electronic edition, “The Early Ruskin Manuscripts, 1826-1842.”
The edition will make available for the first time the complete early writings
of the British art and social critic John Ruskin. It will also assist Hanson’s
participation in NINES, a project co-sponsored by scholarly organizations
to build a publishing environment for integrated, peer-reviewed online
scholarship in 19th century studies.
Southeastern also will
receive $75,027 in the “Education Enhancement” category for education professor
Martha Thornhill’s proposal “Literacy and Learning: Reading in the Middle
School Content Areas.” The proposal’s goal is to improve literacy skills
and, ultimately, LEAP 21 and Iowa test scores.
Thornhill said the 13-month program will impact 96 teachers in the
14 school districts in East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston,
Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, West Baton
Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes, and the cities of Bogalusa, Baker,
selected by the districts, will learn strategies for incorporating literacy
across the curricula. They also will receive professional development opportunities
through workshops and an online Southeastern graduate level education course,
and will receive materials and supplies, including a set of four instructional
DVDs and teacher’s manual.
Southeastern was awarded
three grants totaling more than $137,000 in the undergraduate enhancement
College of Business professors
will receive $56,571 to purchase 17 wireless tablet computers and presentation
equipment. The state-of-the-art equipment will upgrade students’ communication
and technology skills and assist faculty in classroom preparation and conference
The grant was awarded to
Bobbye Davis, assistant dean of the College of Business, who collaborated
with business colleagues Rakesh Duggal, Rick Simpson and Andrew Honoree,
and Mike Asoodeh, assistant vice president for technology.
David Norwood, associate
professor of physics, was awarded $55,026 to purchase equipment to enhance
polymer characterization research for Southeastern undergraduates.
Norwood said the new equipment
will directly impact research opportunities for undergraduate physics,
chemistry, biology and math majors, as well as graduate students in the
university’s multi-disciplinary program in Applied Science and Technology.
The improved research capabilities, he said, will also enhance Southeastern’s
connections to area universities with polymer research graduate programs
and with local businesses tied to polymer and petrochemical industries.
“It is our claim,” he said,
“that we can help trade ‘brain drain’ for ‘brain gain’ by helping to keep
talented students from Louisiana in Louisiana as well as drawing
talented students from the outside.”
Chemistry faculty members
Randy Belter, Debra Dolliver, and Sarah Weaver will receive $25,600 to
purchase new computer software for eight gas chromatographs (GC) that were
donated to the university by Kaiser Aluminum. The equipment, which will
be used to analyze organize sample, will replace a 20-year-old GC system.
“Thanks to Dr. Belter's
efforts in securing the equipment donation and getting the grant for the
software upgrade, the department now has equipment valued at approximately
$230,000 that can used by faculty and students alike,” said Daniel McCarthy,
interim dean of the College of Science and Technology.
In the traditional enhancement
category, mathematics faculty members William Vautaw, Thomas Mark and Lucyna
Kabza were awarded $12,000 for two years to strengthen the Department of
Mathematics’ Colloquium Series, which invites prominent mathematicians
to make presentations to students and to interact with department researchers.