POWELL, Wyoming — An open house of Northwest College’s new INBRE Molecular Techniques Lab will be held Thursday, Nov. 10, from 4:30–6 p.m. in Science and Math Building Room 235. Students and faculty will be present to share research findings and talk about their daily work in the laboratory.
The recently developed facility is designed to provide space and equipment for students whose work is funded through INBRE (IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence), a National Institute for Health program that promotes the development, coordination and sharing of research resources and expertise.
“Research grants like those given through INBRE are directed to research institutions with the expectation they’ll share and encourage collaboration with other research institutions,” said Eric Atkinson, an assistant professor of biology and director of NWC’s INBRE program. “In Wyoming we have only one public four-year school, the University of Wyoming, so UW shares its INBRE funding and collaboration initiatives with the state’s community colleges.”
According to Atkinson, the University of Wyoming INBRE program has provided approximately $35,000 per year to support student STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) education at NWC covering supplies, stipends and travel opportunities. An additional $50,000 over the course of several years, including a $15,000 grant, was used to renovate the space and equip the Molecular Techniques Lab. Private donations through the NWC Foundation have also provided support to the program.
Past and present research conducted by NWC students in the INBRE program include searching for novel antibiotics in bacteria and fungi, assessing water quality parameters and monitoring avian disease.
Contents of the facilities include DNA amplification machines and a RAMP reader (rapid diagnostic test equipment). Two high-powered microscopes, which set atop an anti-vibration table, as well as other digital imaging equipment are also located in the room.
“More and more, hands-on research as an integrated and central portion of college level education is recognized as important to students in the 21st century,” Atkinson said. “Faculty in both biology and chemistry mentor these students, and having a dedicated location for this work is important.”