Campus News

Bowdoin Science Majors Doing Research at Mount Desert Island Biological Lab

Story posted March 12, 2003

Courtesy of Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory

SALISBURY COVE, Maine (March 10, 2003) - Seventeen science majors from Bowdoin College and the University of Maine are currently participating in two weeks of hands-on research at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) as part of the state's $8 million Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN), formed to enhance research opportunities for Maine college students.

"In addition to BRIN providing money for Maine's college science majors to learn in the lab, BRIN is making it possible for them to have in-state job opportunities after they graduate, something that historically has been limited," said Patricia Hand, administrative director at MDIBL. "This should make a significant contribution to our economy."

Director of the course is Dr. Denry Sato, associate director of MDIBL's Marine Cell Lines and Stem Cell Program. Participating instructors are Dr. Keith Hutchinson, UMaine professor of molecular genetics in the department of biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology; UMaine's Dr. Carol Kim, assistant professor of biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology; Dr. Criss Hartzell, Emory University School of Medicine professor of cell biology; and Dr. Bruce Stanton, professor of physiology at Dartmouth.

The BRIN program brings students from five Maine colleges-UMaine, Bowdoin, Colby, Bates and College of the Atlantic-to MDIBL and The Jackson Laboratory to conduct research under the guidance of an experienced scientist.

BRIN grant institutions provide unique educational opportunities for undergraduate students to study comparative genomics, which compares gene function among different species and aids in determining which genes play a role in human disease. At the same time, BRIN strengthens Maine's capacity to compete for federal research dollars by supporting collaborative biomedical research partnerships among established scientists and faculty at participating institutions.

The BRIN grant is a competitive grant among states that have historically received less than five percent of NIH grant awards each year.

More than half of the best and brightest Maine college students who graduated in 1998 wanted to remain in the state but three out of four left due to lack of jobs, according to a just-released report by the Finance Authority of Maine and the Center for Education Policy, Applied Research and Evaluation at the University of Southern Maine.

The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, founded in 1898, is one of the leading marine research institutions in the world. The non-profit, independent research institution has a three-fold mission to promote research and education in the biology of marine organisms; to foster understanding and preservation of the environment; and to advance human health.

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