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July 27, 2006

ULM secures grant that will provide internships abroad

ULM’s Loren Hayes, biology, and Frank Pezold, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, recently secured a $130,846 National Science Foundation grant that will allow 12 ULM undergraduate and six graduate students to gain international medical research and cultural experience through summer internships over a three-year period in Chile and Micronesia.

ULM students will benefit from the program of study because it will increase the cultural awareness and improve the foreign language skills of biology students, increasing their capacity to work with foreign collaborators.  It will also increase the research competitiveness and interest for future international biology and medical research programs.

Hayes is in Chile now researching for the program, which began earlier this summer. Each year, two ULM undergraduate students and one graduate student working with Hayes will be trained in behavioral and physiological ecology research at ULM and under the supervision of Louis Ebensperger at Catholic University, Chile. The same number of students working with Pezold will be trained in population biology and evolution at ULM and under the supervision of Brian Lynch at the College of Micronesia.

During the two semesters preceding international travel, Hayes's students will study prenatal factors affecting the reproduction of communal house mice at ULM. Pezold's students will learn fish collection methods and extract DNA from fish specimens in the ULM Museum of Natural History. All students will assist Hayes and Pezold with writing manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

The program will culminate in a capstone event, during which students will share their cultural and research experiences with the ULM and Monroe communities at the ULM Chautauqua Nexus.

This grant is co-funded by the Office of International Science and Engineering, and the NSF EPSCoR program. All administrative and organizational aspects of the program will be built upon the existing infrastructure of the ULM Howard Hughes Medical Institute research program.

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