Fairmont State University’s Department of Natural Sciences has received a $50,000 grant from the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) with a $15,000 match from the University for a genetic analyzer.
"The Natural Sciences department wants to expand the technology available to students and to enhance undergraduate research experiences in and out of the classroom,” Flood said. “This genetic analyzer allows our students the ability to separate amplified pieces of DNA using capillary electrophoresis.”
In Forensic Science, this specific modern instrument in helping to identify an unknown DNA sample and comparing it to known people, he said. It will allow students to do DNA sequencing, a technique that can be applied across multiple branches of science.
"Genotyping is used to convict or exonerate people by allowing forensic scientists to determine if a person left behind DNA at the scene of a crime,” Flood said. "Our science students will be able to use this equipment in classes like Forensic Biology and Genetics as well as for undergraduate research projects. We believe that having this instrument will allow our students to develop important biotechnology skills that employers want.”
Flood noted that the Natural Science Department recognizes the challenge to promote science and to train student in their pursuit of science-based careers in West Virginia.
“We propose to engage and train interested and academically talented students in undergraduate research starting their second semester of college and throughout all of their remaining laboratory experiences,” he said. “The majority of our majors plan on attending professional school with many remaining in the state upon graduation.”
Students will conduct research and presents at statewide, regional, or national scientific meetings. Flood said the genetic analyzer will allow faculty to focus on the science behind DNA analysis instead of simply discussing the application of the technology.