Western’s Professors Awarded Funding for Research Projects

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Two of Western’s INBRE students, Andy Daley (left) and Steven Poyer (right) work in Dr. Josh Holmes’s lab. Western’s professors were recently awarded grant monies to further their research.

ROCK SPRINGS– Western Wyoming Community College’s professors were awarded $29,300 in Scaled Participatory Research and Education Model (SPREM) Grant monies.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds a program called IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), whose goal is to provide support to states with underrepresented research infrastructure, allowing them to compete for major grants. Wyoming INBRE is a collaboration between the University of Wyoming and Wyoming community colleges.

Participating community colleges are awarded a base grant of $40K annually, which is shared among all researchers. Additionally, researchers are encouraged to apply for competitive awards.

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The SPREM Grant is one such competitive award from INBRE funding, to further research goals or to provide researchers with necessary scientific instruments.

Western has three researchers, Dr. Bud Chew, Dr. David Tanner, and Dr. Josh Holmes. This year, Dr. Chew was awarded $13.9K in SPREM Grant monies to fund his equipment request and Dr. Tanner was awarded $15.4K for equipment and supplies.

Dr. Chew and his team will continue their cardiac research in heart pathologies and the measurement of heart function in rats and mice, using a technique called pressure-volume loops. His student-researchers learn to do delicate microsurgeries during their studies.

Dr. Tanner, an evolutionary ecologist, is using bioinformatics to better understand the native bee fauna in southwestern Wyoming. Bioinformatics combines biology, computer science, information engineering, mathematics and statistics to analyze biological data. Dr. Tanner and his student-researcher team will collect data from bees found in the local Killpecker Sand Dunes and from the Seminoe Sand Dunes in Carbon County to study the gene flow across the continental divide. The research team will use the University of Wyoming’s super computer with a large computational capacity to analyze their huge data sets and findings.

“Western’s participation in INBRE has improved the equipment in our teaching laboratories, and allowed our faculty to teach molecular and surgical techniques that have become industry standards. Additionally, funding from the National Institute of Health through the INBRE program has provided our students with the opportunity to conduct primary research, and present that research at national meetings, which is uncommon at most undergraduate teaching institutions,” stated Dr. David Tanner, Assistant Professor of Biology at Western.

For more information on Western’s Life and Physical Science Programs, visit the website. To learn more about Dr. Tanner’s research, contact him at datanner@westernwyoming.edu.