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June 1, 2006

Howard Hughes Medical Institute awards Stanford $1.5 million for undergraduate bioscience education

By Mark Shwartz

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has awarded Stanford University a four-year, $1.5 million grant to enhance undergraduate education in biology. Stanford is one of 50 universities that will receive HHMI funding for undergraduate biological sciences this year. The grants total $86.4 million and range from $1.5 million to $2.2 million each.

This year's award is the fifth HHMI Undergraduate Science Education Program grant Stanford has received since 1989. "We have had HHMI support for enhancing undergraduate education in the biomedical sciences since their program began," said H. Craig Heller, the Lorry I. Lokey/Business Wire Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford. "It has been extremely important in shaping undergraduate participation in research at Stanford."

Heller noted that the HHMI awards have been used to develop a new bio-engineering curriculum and online interactive core materials for undergraduates in the Department of Biological Sciences and in the Human Biology Program. The awards also have provided funding for undergraduate travel to scientific meetings, publication of student journals (such as The Stanford Biologist) and summer outreach programs, including the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program and Mathematics Camp.

"The HHMI program has supported almost all of the Stanford undergraduates doing summer research in biomedical areas—about 50 grants a year," Heller said. "The new award will continue to support students doing excellent honors research, their publications, their professional development and various outreach programs."

Based in Chevy Chase, Md., HHMI is dedicated to discovering and disseminating new knowledge in the basic life sciences. Since 1988, the institute has awarded nearly $700 million in undergraduate-education grants to 247 colleges and universities.

"We believe it is vital to bring fresh perspectives to the teaching of established scientific disciplines and to develop novel courses in emerging areas, such as computational biology, genomics and bio-imaging," said HHMI president Thomas R. Cech. "Our grantee universities are providing hands-on research experiences to help prepare undergraduates, including women and minorities underrepresented in the sciences, for graduate studies and for careers in biomedical research, medicine and science education. We also hope these grants will help the universities increase the science literacy of their students, including non-science majors."

Editor Note:

For more information about the HHMI Undergraduate Science Education Program, contact Cindy Fox Aisen at (317) 843-2276 or



Mark Shwartz, News Service: (650) 723-9296,

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