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Molecular research gets boost via 1804 Fund grant for new equipment

Elisabeth Weems and Colleen Carow | Oct 23, 2017
Covaris

Molecular research gets boost via 1804 Fund grant for new equipment

Elisabeth Weems and Colleen Carow | Oct 23, 2017

Ohio University’s 1804 Fund provides grants to further OHIO’s ability to produce in-house research. Awarded to both undergraduate and graduate research proposals by the Ohio University Foundation, grants are active for two years. Thus far, the foundation has awarded more than $383,000 to fund research for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The 1804 Fund is made possible through an endowment from C. Paul Stocker, BSEE ’26. Since 1980, the fund has made awards of more than $15 million.

Ohio University’s 1804 Fund has provided seven faculty researchers from the Russ College, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine with a $64,000 grant to purchase two instruments that will facilitate molecular research.

The equipment includes the Covaris S220 Focused-ultrasonicator – used to prepare samples for processes such as RNA and protein extraction and gene expression analysis – and the cryoPREP pulverizer --which fractures tissue samples to isolate their components.

Co-investigator Monica Burdick, associate professor of chemical and biomedical engineering, explained the two machines can be used in tandem to destroy cells so they’ll release DNA, RNA, proteins or organelles of interest. 

“The ability to prepare our cell samples and our tissue samples from patients in ways that are reliable, repeatable and safe would hopefully make our data much better for the ultimate determination of biomarkers associated with diseases,” said Burdick, whose focus is cancer research.

Collaborators on the proposal were Professor of Nutrition Darlene Berryman, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Plant Biology Zhihua Hua, Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology John Kopchick, Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences Erin Murphy, Professor and Chair of Environmental and Plant Biology Morgan Vis, and Professor and Director of Cellular and Molecular Biology Sarah Wyatt, who is the principal investigator.

Burdick noted that the tools support efforts to personalize medicine and develop therapeutic responses for relieving medical ailments.

“I hope we can identify more cancer-relevant biomarkers, especially those that will help us predict which patients are going to respond best to different types of therapy,” Burdick said.

Available for faculty and student research, the instruments were installed in the Porter Hall genomics laboratory in September.