July 13, 2015 -Fort Valley State University received funding that will allow students and faculty researchers to examine the effect of toxins or toxic chemicals on the environment and living organisms. Recently, The National Science Foundation awarded FVSU’s Department of Biology a grant of $399,049 to support toxicology-based course and research investigation. The three-year award period begins September 1, 2015 and ends August 31, 2018.
Toxicology is a branch of science that examines the adverse effects of chemical agents on biological organisms.
A team of scientists lead by Dr. Celia Dodd, an assistant professor of biology, the principal investigator, prepared and submitted the proposal entitled “Targeted Infusion Project: Infusion of Toxicology into Biology and Chemistry Programs at Fort Valley State University” in February 2015. Other members of the team include Dr. Robin Bright, an associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. George N. Mbata, who are co-principal investigators on the grant.
Dodd explained that they have been working to secure the funding for the program for the past three years.
“We have worked diligently to make the connections with the University of Georgia and the USDA which will provide internships and faculty training to enhance the toxicology curriculum for undergraduates at FVSU,” Dodd said.
“It’s a great deal for us,” Mbata said. “It will allow for us to procure the materials we need to establish a toxicology laboratory without depending on scarce university funding.”
According to Mbata, chair of the department of biology, the funding will be used to fund equipment for a toxicology lab, support undergraduate research and to develop materials for toxicology lectures. In addition to research, FVSU’s biology and chemistry departments will create new toxicology-infused courses for students. Mbata expects 25 to 30 students to matriculate through the toxicology courses each year.
“It gives students an opportunity to develop projects related to the environment, and study environmental contaminants,” Mbata said. He said that there will be summer research experiences in toxicology provided for eight undergraduate students every year, during the grant funding period, for students on campus.
For more information, contact Dodd at (478) 825-6494, Mbata at (478) 825-6550 or Bright at (478) 825-6842.