Thursday, January 28, 2010

THINK BIG: TSU Nano-science, Biotechnology Facility Expands Multidisciplinary Approach To Research

Stationed within the first and second floors of the Research and Sponsored Programs building on the main campus of Tennessee State University, the Nanoscience and Biotechnology Core Facility (NBCF) is a state-of-the-art gem created to cultivate a multidisciplinary approach to discovery among faculty and students.

The NBCF at TSU provides students and faculty with hands-on proficiency via its growing collection of technical equipment and with a better understanding of contemporary analytical nanoscience and biotechnology instruments through web-enhanced courses, tutorials, and other tools.

“We would like to see our laboratory as the central hub for  research at the university, a platform for faculty- and student-conducted research as well as small business incubation,” said Susan Verberne-Sutton, director of the laboratory.

The NBCF, with initial funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Department of Defense Research and Engineering Office, constitutes a platform for the University’s Division of Research and Sponsored Programs to deliver 7,000 square feet of dedicated laboratory and office space to the TSU community. Subsequent institutional support has enabled the purchase of an extensive array of multi-user instruments and other research equipment.

A faculty researcher in one of the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics disciplines has mastered each piece of equipment in order to mentor the next generation of researchers. In addition, graduate student fellows serve as student experts on the equipment to train incoming students.

Additionally, Verbene-Sutton hosts monthly interdisciplinary seminars that inform the public of capabilities in the laboratory that might enhance or broaden the scope of individual research endeavors. Each seminar has a focus on one of the laboratory instruments and is supplemented with faculty presentations that show how the equipment has enhanced their research.

 “The faculty and experts describe their research projects and discuss  protocols and challenges they have met along the way so that others can learn from their experiences. It’s a hands-on look at the types of problem solving our students will one day themselves meet,” Verbene-Sutton said.

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