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National Science Foundation awards Lawrence Tech $1.3 million for research facilities

Release Date: October 5, 2010

Lawrence Technological University has received a grant of $1,342,276 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to upgrade the life sciences research laboratories in its College of Arts and Sciences.

Lawrence Tech’s next-generation Life Sciences Research Facility will include a molecular and cell biology research lab, a chemistry lab, an instrumentation room, and a room for preparing testing materials and equipment. Construction is expected to start in January and be completed in time for the 2011 fall semester.

Funding for the grant comes through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Lawrence Tech’s grant is three to four times larger than the typical NSF grant. More than 1,500 universities and colleges filed letters of intent, and NSF is expected to make fewer than 125 awards.

“We are honored to win this NSF grant, which confirms the strength of the life sciences programs at Lawrence Tech,” said Hsiao-Ping Moore, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the principal investigator for the grant. “This investment in our research facilities will provide more educational opportunities for our undergraduates.” 

The new facility will also support expanded research training opportunities for high school students through the university’s participation in the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) and its partnership with University High School in Ferndale.

The NSF grant will enable Lawrence Tech to upgrade the infrastructure and reconfigure the space for its research labs on the third floor of the Science Building. The laboratory upgrades are the latest in a series of projects to modernize the Science Building that opened in 1968, and Lawrence Tech will spend an additional $300,000 on other improvements in conjunction with the NSF grant.

“It is part of the planning process for envisioning what the Science Building will look like for the next 20 to 30 years,” Moore said.

The life sciences research laboratories will be used by faculty members and undergraduate students in six academic programs: biomedical engineering, chemical biology, chemistry, environmental chemistry, molecular and cell biology and psychology.

“This is a truly multidisciplinary project that also involves faculty members and students from the College of Engineering,” Moore said. There are four co-principal investigators for the NSF grant, Assistant Professors Jeffery Morrissette, Julie Zwiesler-Vollick, Shannon Timmons and Matthew Cole. The lab upgrades will enable the following research at Lawrence Tech:

Moore will investigate the molecular mechanisms for lipolytic regulation in the heart.

  • Morrissette will utilize animal models to investigate the anti-arrhythmic properties of hearts that tolerate extreme temperatures.
  • Zwiesler-Vollick will study the roles of the SOS response and pH sensing pathways in controlling the virulence of apoplast-infecting pathogens.
  • Timmons will devise novel synthetic routes to facilitate the development and testing of new carbohydrate-based drugs.
  • Cole will investigate the mechanisms of alcohol dependence using a new behavioral assay.

Associate Dean Joseph Veryser of the College of Architecture and Design is the project director, and Associate Dean Glen Bauer of the College of Arts and Sciences is the project coordinator. Campus Facilities Director Carey Valentine is the project manager.

Lawrence Technological University, ltu.edu, offers more than 100 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, and programs are also offered in Detroit, Lansing, Petoskey and Traverse City. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.