A grant for approximately $4.1 million over five years has been awarded to Chaminade by the National Center for Minority Health and Disease of the National Institutes of Health. This Building Research Infrastructure and Capacity (BRIC) award will support excellence in student preparation and faculty research with a focus on health issues that disproportionately affect Pacific populations. The grant proposal efforts were spearheaded by Dr. Helen Turner, Dean of Chaminade’s Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Dr. Thomas Wesselkamper, director of Chaminade’s Office of Sponsored Research.
“This is a transformative award for the life sciences at Chaminade,” Dean Turner said. “The grant recognizes Chaminade’s tremendous investment in research and instructional facilities for biomedical sciences. To be recognized with such a highly competitive award is a validation of our commitment to build curriculum and research capability that will train the next generation of researchers and health practitioners to combat diseases that affect our communities in the Pacific and nationwide”.
The award will fund capacity building efforts, faculty research, student research and enrichment activities, curriculum development and advanced instrumentation. Dr. Turner commented upon two areas of particular excitement to her “We will be able to generously support faculty and student research in areas such as the respiratory effects of vog, diabetes prevalence in the Pacific, and the immunobiology of obesity”. In addition, she notes that “In March 2011 Chaminade approved a state-of-the-art new biology BS curriculum, and will offer a BS in biochemistry for the first time in fall 2011, and this award will provide critical infrastructure and student experiences for these cutting-edge new biomedical degree programs”. Behind the scenes, the BRIC program will also allow a high-speed, high-capacity data network to connect students and faculty with the many sophisticated instruments newly available in Chaminade’s laboratories. “These are exciting times at Chaminade” says Turner “and this award will help us realize our full potential to lead in undergraduate science education in Hawaii”.