LMU Joins Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science Education Alliance

Dec 23, 2009, 13:20 ET from Loyola Marymount University

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Loyola Marymount University has been accepted into the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science Education Alliance. LMU is one of 12 universities this year joining the Alliance, which is working on the National Genomics Research Initiative.

As a member of the Alliance, faculty and undergraduate students in the Department of Biology of the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering will participate in a three-year national phage genomics research project, in conjunction with faculty and students at 35 colleges and universities around the country.

"Seaver College has a strong track record of involving undergraduates in true scientific discovery," said Gary Kuleck, associate dean for research at Seaver College and associate professor of biology. "This program is an amazing opportunity for our students to participate in authentic research and to hit the ground running. Even as freshmen, they learn to think and act as scientists. It also provides faculty an opportunity to combine innovative teaching and research components into the curriculum."

Kuleck, and Carl Urbinati, assistant professor of biology, will jointly oversee the project in the coming academic year.

HHMI established the alliance in 2007 and committed $4 million over four years to the first Alliance program - the National Genomics Research Initiative - a two-part, year-long course that enables students to make discoveries by doing research on bacterial viruses, called phage. Participating classes isolate phage and decode the genomes, making significant contributions to the field of genomics.

The overarching goal of the SEA is to assist exciting and innovative science programs for undergraduates that will encourage them to enter research as a career. The NGRI is its first undertaking. Participating schools are selected through national competitions.

LMU was one of 12 colleges and universities selected this year to participate in SEA's National Genomics Research Initiative, joining Baylor University, Bucknell University, Gonzaga University, Purdue University, Culver-Stockton College, Jacksonville State University, North Carolina Central University, University of Alabama-Birmingham, University of Texas-El Paso, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

About Loyola Marymount University

Located between the Pacific Ocean and downtown Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University is a comprehensive university offering 53 major programs, 32 master's degrees and a doctoral degree in education from four colleges, two schools and Loyola Law School. Founded in 1911, LMU is ranked fourth in "Best Universities with Master's Programs in the West" by U.S. News & World Report. LMU is one of the largest Catholic institutions of higher education on the West Coast with nearly 5,500 undergraduate students and more than 3,000 graduate and law students. For more LMU news and events, please visit www.lmu.edu/news.

SOURCE Loyola Marymount University