Grant from National Institute of Health funds brain research at Georgia College

  • Ashok Hegde, Ph.D., the William Harvey Professor of Biomedical Sciences,
    recently scored Georgia College a $381,357 grant from the National
    Institute of Health (NIH).
  • It’s the first time Georgia College has received a grant from that federal agency. It’s unusual too, because competition’s fierce even among larger, research schools. Less than 15 percent of applications each year get funded.
  • Quote from Dr. Indiren Pillay, chair of biological and environmental sciences: “This is an immense achievement. Not only does it put us in the forefront of doing cutting-edge research; it also serves as a great platform for our undergraduate students to get involved in neuroscience research,” Pillay said. “For me, getting the grant is one thing. But what the grant brings is opportunity for our students. And that’s what will enhance our program. That’s what it’s all about.”
  • The university had to provide the government evidence its research will work. This included preliminary data, innovation, introduction of new concept, methodology and proper description of plans. Hegde also had to show his past history, publications and contribution to science.
  • The grant is being used to purchase special machinery, chemicals, microscopes and computer software to analyze data. Money will also pay the salary of a postdoctoral Research Fellow and stipends for undergraduates to continue their work in the summer.
  • Four students currently work with Hegde. Senior biology major William Anda of Peachtree City said he’s excited to join Hegde’s team, because the research is “completely unique.”
  • Students will study the brains of mice, which have largely the same gene composition as humans. They will examine pathways that turn on genes in nerve cells and measure changes in electrical communication along pathways between nerve cells.

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