Winter 2016– Volume IX, Issue 2 NSPAA Voice | Page 19

HBCUs Latest Extramural Awards Dillard University Awarded $2.2 Million in NIH and Department of Defense Grants Grants will provide career and research opportunities for students (NEW ORLEANS, LA) – Dillard University recently received grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Defense. The National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the NIH recently awarded Dillard almost $1.4 million through its Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) initiative, to increase both the number of students engaged in biomedical research as undergraduates and the number of students that subsequently pursue STEM graduate degrees. According to Dr. Ruby Broadway, the grant’s principal investigator, Dillard’s grant will focus primarily on identifying students interested in biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology and providing these students with tuition support, rigorous mentored research experiences, and other academic support to better ensure they complete undergraduate study and enroll in graduate school. Dillard’s MARC grant will also coincide with the University’s other NIH-funded initiatives, including the Center of Excellence and their NIH endowment grant for health disparities research. The MARC grant beganJune 1st. and continue through 2020. Dillard becomes one of about forty or so MARC grantees in the US and one of only three in Louisiana. As a part of two multi-year projects, Dillard was also awarded an additional $744,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and Army Research Lab. According to Dillard’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, the new awards are part of a continued investment from DOD. Both grants are provided to expand Dillard's and DOD’s research interests in advanced pulsed laser deposition (PLD) technologies. The advanced PLD laboratory and research directed by Abdalla Darwish, professor of physics, focuses primarily on the development of advanced thin film for a number of defense and other applications. Thus far, this project has resulted in three patents pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Professor Darwish’s advanced PLD –Thin-Film research was the topic of a recent lecture at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Dillard’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Yolanda Page, said that all these grants have direct benefits to students. “In addition to their discovery potential, these awards provide exceptional learning experiences and provide opportunities for students to engage in top-flight research experiences,” Page said.