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Education: Pfeiffer student gets grant for life-science research

MISENHEIMER ó Pfeiffer University is among 15 North Carolina schools to receive competitive grants for life-science research.
The Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award program was unveiled this year by the N.C. Biotechnology Center. It brings the number of grant and loan programs administered by the center to 19 to support education, research, commercialization and company development.
Pfeiffer senior and biology major Kevin Lambirth, of Concord, was among the $5,000 award recipients. Mentored by Dr. Dane Fisher, associate professor of biology at Pfeiffer, in collaboration with Dr. Kenneth Pillar, associate professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Soymeds, Lambirth’s project title is “Evaluation of Soybean Transgene Targets in a Plant Model System.”
“The fellowship provides support for Kevin to further focus his research effort at Pfeiffer, an opportunity for him to present his work at a major scientific meeting, and to attend business workshops related to biotechnology,” Fisher said. “This grant allows Kevin to be competitive for a career in biotechnology and gain applied experience. It also allows Pfeiffer to demonstrate the quality and value of its science program to the Charlotte area and the nearby N.C. Research Campus.”
Winning students hail from colleges and universities across the state, from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Their projects focus on topics as varied as protecting marine resources, improving cancer treatments and conserving native hemlock forests.
The 15 undergraduate awards will fund collaborative projects that match faculty mentors with science and engineering majors, enabling students across the state to gain real-world research experience. For some award winners, the project represents a first glimpse at biotechnology careers.
“It is vital to introduce talented students to biotechnology research early in their college education,” said Kathleen Kennedy, vice president for education and training at the Biotechnology Center. “This gives them a critical edge in preparing for enriching and successful careers in academia or industry.”
During the one-year grant period, student fellows will devote more than 400 hours to their research. They are required to present their work in a seminar, delivered at their institution and in a paper or poster at a scientific conference. Students will also attend at least one regional or state meeting on the business of biotechnology.
For details on the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award, log on to www.ncbiotech.org/undergrad_biotech.
The Biotechnology Center is a private, nonprofit corporation supported by the N.C. General Assembly. Its mission is to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina by supporting biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy statewide.

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