Dr. Rodney King and Dr. Claire Rinehart, both professors in WKU’s Department of Biology, recently received a $10,000 award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to support WKU students engaged in genomics research.
This is the second year that WKU has been granted this award. Students in the Biology Department’s Genome Discovery and Exploration class isolate and characterize unique viruses from the environment. These students then take the department’s Bioinformatics course and learn how to annotate newly sequenced viral genomes.
This unique hands-on, inquiry-based program was initiated by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science Education Alliance and is designed to engage new undergraduates in the process of doing scientific research. Through their efforts in this yearlong, course-based research experience, students ultimately contribute new information to the scientific community in the form of annotated viral genomes that are published in Genbank, the national DNA sequence database. WKU has been part of the Science Education Alliance since 2009.