The College of New Jersey

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Merck and AAAS Recognize TCNJ Biology & Chemistry as Outstanding Undergraduate Research Programs

The College of New Jersey was selected as one of fifteen colleges and universities nationwide as a winner of the 2007 award for the Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program (USRP), sponsored by the Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Each award provides up to $60,000, paid over three years, for joint use by the biology and chemistry departments at each recipient institution. TCNJ is in the company of institutions such as Truman State University, University of Richmond, Wellesley College and the University of Wisconsin in receiving this award. The Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program is a competitive program available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Up to 15 awards are made annually. Launched in 2000 as a national competition, the 10-year, $9 million initiative is funded by MISE and administered by AAAS. The program is open to qualified institutions in the United States and Puerto Rico that offer an American Chemical Society-approved program in chemistry and confer 10 or fewer graduate degrees annually in biology and chemistry combined. The program’s goals are to:

  • Enhance undergraduate education through research experiences that emphasize the interrelationship between chemistry and biology;
  • Encourage students to pursue graduate education in chemistry and life sciences; and
  • Foster undergraduate programs and activities that bridge chemistry and biology.

TCNJ’s program will be led by Dr. Marcia O’Connell (Chair of Biology) and Dr. Georgia Arvanitis (Chair of Chemistry).  The award will be used to support five students each summer for three summers as they work collaboratively with biology and chemistry faculty on the following interdisciplinary projects:

  • Students working with Dr. Miriam Segura-Totten (biology) and Dr. Donald Hirsh (chemistry) will pursue investigations under the heading: Study of the interaction between BAF and histone H1 using site-directed spin labeling;
  •  Students working with Dr. Sudhir Nayak (biology) and Dr. David Hunt (chemistry) will be involved in a project titled: Development of Small Molecule Proteasome Inhibitors; and
  •  Students working with Dr. Anna Maria Soto (biochemistry) will work on analyses of:  Electrostatic Contributions to the Binding of TAR RNA.

The winners were announced during the 2007 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, February 15-19. For more information, visit