An award has been made to Delaware State University (DSU) to provide undergraduate research training in molecular genetics and genomics for nine weeks to 10 students each year, for the summers of 2010-2013. The scientific focus of this research program is the use of genetics, molecular biology, and genomics tools to bring together and understand diverse areas of biological sciences. The program offers a unique opportunity to use this common thread to train undergraduate students with interests in various fields of biology and to expose them to potential applications in their respective fields of interest. The program includes training in state-of-the-art research techniques and instrumentation in molecular biology and genomics by means of an initial methods workshop, a microarray/next generation sequencing and bioinformatics workshop, ethics training, and interaction with various levels of researchers in academia, government, and industry. Students will have the opportunity to work on specific research problems under the supervision of faculty mentors, while developing capabilities to work both individually and as part of a team with fellow students. Students are expected to participate in all individual research projects and team activities that will conclude with a research symposium, and in surveys required for tracking of progress after completion of the program. Students are expected to maintain laboratory notebooks that document their research experiments, and conduct their research responsibly. The REU program will conclude with a DSU-wide Student Research Symposium where REU students present posters, and showcase their summer research to faculty, students, family, friends, high school students and teachers. Students for this program will be recruited from the biotechnology program at Delaware Technical and Community College, biology program at Wesley College, biology, agriculture and natural resources at Delaware State University and biology and related fields from other institutions nationwide. Student progress in scientific careers and research after completion of the REU program will be tracked by the use of a common assessment tool. Interested students are invited to visit, contact the Project Director, Dr. Venu (Kal) Kalavacharla (phone: 302-857-6492 ; email, or alternatively contact the Center for Integrated Biological and Environmental Research (CIBER) at Delaware State University, Dover, DE 19901 at (302) 857-6453.

Project Report

The NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates site at Delaware State University in Molecular Genetics and Genomics (NSF-REU at DSU) has trained a total of 40 students in this award period (2010-2013) and a total of 70 students since inception in 2007. The research and training focus area has been in Molecular Genetics & Genomics. We have recruited and trained students from all over the United States ranging from small schools with limited or no undergraduate research programs to students from top research universities in the country. Specific research areas within the program have included-plant genetics and genomics, plant physiology, aquatic sciences, neuroscience, and bioinformatics. Utilizing the theme of the commonality among living organisms, and that tools learnt and developed in one system are applicable to research and learning in other systems has been a focal point of our program. We have extended our recruiting efforts and outreach to community colleges, small four-year collleges, and historically black colleges & universities (HBCUs). We have partnered since inception of the program in 2007 with Wesley College in Dover, DE and the Delaware Technical and Community College in the State of Delaware. The goal of our program is to inspire students to take up careers in STEM disciplines by a combination of research, individual development, and interaction within the cohort in order to achieve a successful outcome that will then help in the further education and career development of the students. We have developed, primarily through the REU program, long-lasting relationships with non-research institutions, and to provide opportunities for first-generation and other underserved minorities to have meaningful research opportunities in cutting-edge areas of the broader biological sciences.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Sally O'Connor
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Delaware State University
United States
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