Biology students receive funding for grant proposals

February 7, 2013

By Liz Cachey ‘15

Every year, the National Biological Honor Society encourages students to submit grant proposals for original, individual research projects. After a highly competitive and rigorous review process, staff at the organization, also known as Beta Beta Beta, or Tri-beta, selects which grant proposals to fund.

This year, an unprecedented six undergraduate Bradley students submitted five research proposals, and all five were selected for funding.

 “Within the past five years, we’ve had about five proposals total receive funding from Tri-beta,” said Dr. Erich Stabenau, professor and chair of the biology department, “but this year alone, we had five proposals entered and five funded. It’s great.”

Every year, professors encourage students to submit proposals though the process is truly student-oriented and entirely optional. Each student, or group of students, must determine a viable research project and write a lengthy proposal with minimal support from an assisting faculty member in whose lab the research will take place. This year’s faculty mentors were Dr. Stabenau and Dr. Keith Johnson, an associate professor of biology.

“The students really stepped up,” Dr. Stabenau said. “We didn’t expect to enter five proposals this year, but it was the students’ drive and initiative that got them where they are.”

According to Dr. Stabenau, students who propose research projects are motivated to go above and beyond the normal expectations.

“Even though we have classes for research here at Bradley, these students are spending a significant amount of time outside of classes to do this,” he said. “They are aware of the leverage for success it will provide for them later in their careers.”

The students and their projects are: Christian Clabaugh, Grant Harmon, and Kaleigh Tockes with “The physiological effects of pyrene exposure on bullfrog tadpoles [Rana catesbeiana] at different temperatures”; Philip Dexter with “Hypoxia in Fischer and Sprague-Dawley juveniles”; Meghan Hermanson with “Assessing the effects of pyrene on volume regulation in Rana pipiens hepatocytes”; Kaleigh Tockes with “Identification of aminoglycoside resistance genes in Carnobacterium species”; and Nhi Vo with “Characterization of putative florfenicol resistant efflux pump gene expression in Serratia species.”

As part of a requirement for receiving funding, the students must present their proposals at a Tri-beta conference or another significant scientific meeting within the next year. Coincidentally, this year’s regional Tri-beta conference will be held at Bradley in April.

With highly inspired and successful students like these, the presentations shouldn’t be a problem.