Sep 25 2008

ASU science department receives $5 million grant

Montgomery Advertiser

By Darryn Simmons

Alabama State University's Department of Biological Sciences has received a $5 million appropriation to train scientists.

The Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee gave ASU the grant to prepare world-class scientists to help advance the state's global scientific pres ence, said Karyn Scissum- Gunn, interim university provost and chair of biological sciences.

"We are witnessing history," Gunn said. "With our new Ph.D. program in microbiology, cutting-edge nanobiotechnology initiative, new state-of-the-art Life Sciences building, a major scientific research hub is evolving in the Capital City. We have just taken a leap forward with the support of U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby."

Shelby is the chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

"We must continue to invest in our state's colleges and universities to ensure that students are receiving the best education possible, while also providing economic development opportunities for our state," he said. "Investing in Alabama's research universities is one of the smartest ways for our state to secure high-quality, non-exportable jobs and to secure the United States' competitive edge in the global economy."

Alfred Seawright, a member of the ASU Board of Trustees, said he looks forward to these advances, such as the new Life Sciences building, which opens next year.

"It will breathe new life into biological research for ASU," he said.

The $5 million appropriation will be used to acquire "cutting-edge" research and technological equipment for laboratories and to establish ASU as a global leader in life sciences and research, Gunn said.

"ASU is already creating international collaborations with China, India, Argentina, Turkey, Japan and Singapore," Gunn said. "This allows our researchers to be on top of scientific discoveries in the future and establish a presence for ASU in the scientific marketplace.

Shelby agreed.

"The jobs of tomorrow require a great understanding of math and sciences today," he said. "The new science building at ASU will provide facilities for Alabama's students who will receive a first-class education space and researchers who will gain technologically advanced research facilities."