A grant has been awarded to CUNY Medgar Evers College under the direction of Drs. Edward J. Catapane and Margaret A. Carroll and with the participation of Dr. Ebere Nduka for support of acquiring instruments to expand the scope of faculty research and to enrich our students, who are historically underrepresented in sciences. To accomplish these goals, the following instruments: (1) a HPLC System with a Fluorescence Detector, (2) an Atomic Absorption Spectrometer and (3) a Microplate Reader will be purchased.

The intellectual merits of this proposal, utilizing the equipment purchased, is to advance an ongoing research project studying the physiological and biochemical effects of metal and organic pollutants on the American oyster, Crassostrea virginica, in Jamaica Bay, NY, with broader implications on ecological reclamation and reestablishing animal life in polluted environments. Jamaica Bay was once the "oyster capital of the United States." The three faculty members in the areas of Cell Biology, Physiology and Endocrinolgy are collaborating on this research project. The Atomic Absorption Spectrometer will be used to quantify metal levels in water, sediment and animal tissues. The HPLC with fluorescence detector and the Microplate Reader will be used to identify and quantify biogenic amines and other neuroendocrine chemicals in oyster tissues as well as to determine tissue levels of organic pollutants and various biomarkers of stress associated with toxicant exposure.

Acquisition of the instrumentation will have a broader impact because research aimed at advancing the understanding of mechanisms that allow oysters to survive or not survive stresses of toxicant exposure is important to restoring a healthy ecosystem to Jamaica Bay. Just as important will be the benefits gained by increasing the awareness of our students to the value of a healthy ecosystem and the necessity for devising methods for remedying and preventing further environmental damage. Giving undergraduates, especially those who have been historically underrepresented in sciences, access to modem scientific instrumentation and opportunities to participate in exciting research projects provides an educational environment that not only upgrades their training but assists in recruiting bright young people into science. The acquisition of these three modem instruments will greatly improve the efficiency and productivity of faculty research projects and will have an even boarder impact on the number of women and minority undergraduate students that gain access to sophisticated science training and ultimately participate in biological and biologically related science enterprise.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Robyn E. Hannigan
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CUNY Medgar Evers College
United States
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