DSU receives grant for science program

DOVER — The National Institutes of Health has awarded Delaware State University a five-year $1.3 million grant that will fund the establishment of a Bioinformatics and Chemistry summer program for middle school students.

The program is entitled the “Bioinformatics and Chemistry Academy for Research Scholars (B2-CARS): A Partnership to Address Human Health through Wastewater Remediation.”

Through the NIH funding, the middle school students will be able to enroll in the two-week program, which will be held twice during the summer over the next five years. The first one will take place in the summer of 2021.
B2-CARS will integrate hands-on activities in chemistry, biology, and bioinformatics with a real-world laboratory research project that will focus on the connection between human health and wastewater treatment.

The program will engage 64 participating middle school students each year in the program. In addition, four middle school teachers will be involved in the program annually, serving as B2-CARS ambassadors. The program will enable those teachers to integrate bioinformatics tools and inquiry-based activities in their classrooms upon their return to their schools in the fall.
The students will collaborate with the Kent County Regional Resource Recovery Facility (formerly the Kent County Wastewater Treatment Plant) on a research project with an emphasis on bioinformatics.

The goal of the program is to increase the STEM knowledge and skills of participating students as well as increase their interest in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The grant is a Science Education Partnership Award from the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

The principal investigators of the grant are Dr. Derrick Scott and Dr, LaTia Scott, both Associate Professors in the University’s Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Kimberly Milligan, visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Dr. Anthea Aikens, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, are co-principal investigators.