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Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. Greg Richards was notified that his grant proposal to study the effects of stress on bacteria is being funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The total amount of the award is just over $381,000.
"One of the most exciting aspects of the grant is a major focus on funding undergraduate and graduate student research," Dr. Richards said. "A key strength of UW-Parkside is the excellent 'real world' experience students attain doing research in the labs of faculty, which helps make them very employable."
The research will explore one of the most fundamental questions of life: how organisms sense and respond to stresses such as heat, cold, and nutrient starvation.
"My lab studies one particular type of nutritional stress in the bacterium Escherichia coli, called sugar-phosphate stress," Dr. Richards said. "This condition results from the bacterium taking up too much sugar, which inhibits its growth. This cellular stress associated with too much sugar has some similarities to diabetes."
The research grant will allow Dr. Richards and UW-Parkside students to investigate how E. coli regulates its response to this stress. "This will help us learn how cells metabolize nutrients and deal with stress, as well as possibly discover new methods to harm pathogenic bacteria and treat diseases," Dr. Richards said. "We have awesome students who work very hard to both attend courses and do research, and it is great to be able to support that financially."