Chemistry students at Gainesville State College have a new opportunity to conduct laboratory research while earning their associate degree.
A $201,000 grant from the National Science Foundation marks the beginning of Gainesville State’s research program. The funding will be used to purchase supplies and advanced instrumentation needed for students to understand the relationship between protein structure and function.
“This is the first time our students have ever received a grant to do research,” said Gainesville State spokeswoman Sloan Jones. “... It takes us to a different level. This type of research will help students as they go on to other colleges. They’ll get experience they otherwise wouldn’t have had at this level.”
Ellen Moomaw, a chemistry professor at Gainesville State, said the grant is much like a grant typically awarded to research institutions like the University of Georgia or Emory University.
She said the three-year grant will provide about 20 Gainesville State students with laboratory experience that will help scientists to discover how the protein oxalate oxidase works.
“It’s like building our underpinnings of science, our basic understanding,” Moomaw said. “So that when diseases or problems and new agents become necessary, all that’s already done. And it’s fun.”
Gainesville State College student Crystal Bruce is assisting Moomaw with the research. She said she never expected to get research experience at the school.
“I just thought two years in and I’m out,” she said. “But it’s been great getting this experience here. It will help me in making my decision about transferring.”
Bruce said time spent in the lab could help her cement her plans to pursue a degree in biochemistry or molecular biology at the University of Georgia.