(Posted February 18, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College is one of 14 colleges and universities selected for awards from the Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program. Sponsored by the Merck Institute for Science Education and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the program awards provide up to $60,000, paid over three years, for use by the biology and chemistry departments at the college or university receiving the funds.

At Juniata, the college will use its $60,000 award to fund five summer research assistant slots each summer for the next three years. All five students selected for the positions each summer will be identified as Merck AAAS Scholars. The students will immerse themselves in a research project for 10 weeks, overseen by a Juniata faculty member.

The research projects that will use the funds to hire research assistants are as follows:

--A proteomic project that will research the structure-function relationship in a particular protein molecule, overseen by Richard Hark, professor of chemistry, and Michael Boyle, von Liebig Chair in Biomedical Science.

--A genomic research project studying yeast molecules, overseen by Jill Keeney, professor of biology, and Michael Boyle.

--The effects of calcium and the regulation of water within cell proteins, overseen by Jeff Demarest, professor of biology, Tom Fisher, professor of chemistry and Paul Schettler, professor of chemistry.

--The biological activity in purine compounds, overseen by Peter Baran, assistant professor of chemistry, and John Matter, associate professor of biology.

--The effect of fish predation on the growth rate freshwater amphipods, overseen by Doug Glazier, professor of biology, and Ruth Reed, professor of chemistry.

The other colleges and universities who received grant are Boise State University, Boise, Idaho; Claflin University, Orangeburg, S.C.; Colorado State University, Pueblo, Colo.; Francis Marion University, Florence, S.C.; Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, Minn.; Muhlenberg University, Allentown, Pa.; North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, N.C.; Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Mich.; Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y.; Roger Williams University, Bristol, R.I.; Union College, Schenectady, N.Y.; University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.; University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Okla.

The Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program is a competitive program available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Up to 15 awards are made annually. Funding supports research stipends for undergraduate students and ancillary programs that encourage research collaborations between biology and chemistry departments.

The Merck Institute for Science Education is a tax-exempt private foundation established in 1993 to improve science education in the public schools. The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science. AAAS was founded in 1848.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.