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Beth Sorensen
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Reed receives $60,000 Merck Corporation grant for biology and chemistry research

First-time grant will fund collaborative research projects over three years

PORTLAND, OR (March 5, 2004) - The Merck Company Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have awarded a joint grant of $60,000 for research training and education in the biological and chemical sciences at Reed College. This is the first grant awarded to Reed by the Merck Company Foundation and is based largely on the collaborative nature of the proposal submitted by Reed's biology and chemistry departments.

The funding will provide summer fellowships and support for students who are chemistry, biology, or biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB) majors. The award will be paid over a three-year period at $20,000 per year, $17,000 of which is dedicated to directly supporting student research and $3,000 to establishing related programs and activities. Students from both the biology and chemistry departments will be working on the projects. Other sources of funding include Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, American Chemical Society/Petroleum Research Fund, Research Corporation, and others.

Biochemistry and molecular biology
The summer research program is also intended to complement the BMB major. This was established as a standing interdisciplinary major in 1992, with rapid growth to its current level of 20-30 sophomores, juniors, and seniors with the declared major. The availability of funds to explicitly support summer BMB projects will enhance the prospects for faculty collaborations, strengthen the program's perceived independence in students' eyes, and better prepare students for their required senior thesis projects.

Student research
Reed College recognizes the importance of student research to the vitality of its science programs. During a recent fundraising campaign, the college met its goal of raising $1 million to create a fund for research expenses related to academic courses. The Merck grant recognizes the work that biology and chemistry faculty have invested in the BMB program and extends opportunities for interdisciplinary student research on the campus.

Collaborative research projects
The biology and chemistry departments proposed four distinct, interdisciplinary projects co-supervised by one chemist and one biologist. Other collaborative projects will be considered in the course of the grant. Each project could involve one or two students each summer for the duration of the award.

The first project, proposed by biology professor Keith Karoly and chemistry professor Pat McDougal, studies the mechanisms of floral color evolution in the genus Delphinium. The second, led by McDougal and biology professor David Dalton, studies the synthesis of the Fe chelator nicotianamine and examine its physiological role in legume root nodules.

The third project, headed by biology professor Jay Mellies and chemistry professor Arthur Glasfeld, studies the multimerization state of Ler protein of EPEC. The fourth project, led by Glasfield and biology professor Janis Shampay, studies the telomere binding proteins from Xenopus .

The Merck Company Foundation
The Merck Company Foundation is a U.S.-based private, charitable foundation. The foundation, established in 1957 by Merck & Co., Inc., is funded entirely by the company. Key priorities of the foundation's mission are advancing biomedical science training and education and improving access to health care worldwide.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal, Science . Founded in 1848, AAAS serves 134,000 members as well as 272 affiliates, representing 10 million scientists.

Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, visit .

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