Saint Michael’s receives $766,000 NSF grant as part of plant genome project

first_imgSaint Michael’s College,Saint Michael’s College biologist Dr Mark Lubkowitz and his students join a team of researchers from the University of Missouri, University of Florida, Purdue University and the University Nebraska-Lincoln, on a five-year project to study the genes that control the movement of carbohydrates in corn.Saint Michael’s and the other four institutions, major research universities, have been awarded a $6.6 million grant from the Plant Genome Research Program at the National Science Foundation for a joint five-year research project that will involve undergraduates at each institution.Working with 45 Saint Michael’s students over the next five years, Dr. Lubkowitz and his co-investigators across the country will do research that could lead to increased corn yield, more drought resistant plants, larger plants and easier production of biofuels.‘To be part of a Plant Genome Grant’the first ever awarded in the state of Vermont’is an incredible opportunity for our students,’ Dr. Lubkowitz said.‘As for the actual research,’ he said, ‘people often ask me what Carbohydrate Partitioning (CP) is, and I tell them, think biofuels, crop yields, and the mitigating of global climate change.’The researchers indicate that carbohydrate transport is little understood, but is ‘one of the most important factors in plant development.’ Thus, understanding it better has great potential to improve corn yield and quality.‘Our research,’ Lubkowitz said, ‘may give insights into how we can increase the movement of carbohydrates and could thus affect biofuel production and the rate at which we can pull CO2 out of the atmosphere.’Additional benefits of the grantThe research has the potential to advance society’s understanding of drought stress, biofuel production, food production and carbon sequestration (binding).The work integrates undergraduates at major research universities and at a liberal arts college into all areas of the research.And the project, in collaboration with Vermont EPSCoR, will run a workshop for high school teachers and students on the vital significance of plant genomics and Carbohydrate Partitioning (CP) in plants.Learn What Matters at Saint Michael’s College, The Edmundite Catholic liberal arts college, www.smcvt.edu(link is external) . Saint Michael’s provides education with a social conscience, producing graduates with the intellectual tools to lead successful, purposeful lives that will contribute to peace and justice in our world. Founded in 1904 by the Society of St. Edmund and headed by President John J. Neuhauser, Saint Michael’s College is located three miles from Burlington, Vermont, one of America’s top college towns. It is identified by the Princeton Review as one of the nations Best 371 Colleges, and is included in the 2011 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Saint Michael’s is one of only 280 colleges and universities nationwide, one of only 20 Catholic colleges, with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Saint Michael’s has 1,900 undergraduate students, some 500 graduate students and 100 international students. Saint Michael’s students and professors have received Rhodes, Woodrow Wilson, Pickering, Guggenheim, Fulbright, and other grants. The college is one of the nation’s top-100, Best Liberal Arts Colleges as listed in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report rankings.last_img

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