7th Annual Science Conference

RIMI grant briefing with Pres. Jennings

Nathan Francis Mossell, M.D (1856-1946)
On Thursday February 23, 2012 Lincoln University's 13th President Dr. Robert Jennings met with Dr. John Chikwem, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Project Director of the Research Infrastructure for Minority Institutions (RIMI). Dr. Chikwem was accompanied by Drs. Derrick Swinton and Anna Hull (sub-project principal investigators) and Dr. Michael Chorney, Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Pediatrics at Penn State University College of Medicine and liaison of the Lincoln University-Penn State partnership.

Dr. Chikwem and the RIMI implementation group briefed President Jennings on the Research Infrastructure for Minority Institutions (RIMI) grant that the university received in 2008. The goals of the RIMI grant program are to strengthen the research capability and infrastructure of Lincoln University and to generate a pipeline of minority students who will chose to continue their education in biomedical research, allied health and medicine. Dr. Chikwem elaborated that since the receipt of the RIMI grant, the following achievements have been made:
Four functional independent research laboratories, one tissue/cell culture laboratory and a mini-core mass spectrometry laboratory have been established.
Three faculty projects of $25,000 each are sponsored each year.
With the collaboration of the NSF-sponsored LEAPS grant, nine students are supported in the research laboratories of faculty each year.
Establishment of a weekly research seminar series presented by faculty from research-intensive institutions including the University of Pennsylvania, Fox Chase Cancer Center and Penn State University College of Medicine.
The RIMI and LEAPS grants work synergistically to support Lincoln's Annual- Science Fair, Lincoln's Annual Science Conference, Lincoln University Journal of Science (IHE) and the website of the GrandResearch Educational Awareness and Training Center of Excellence in Health Disparities.
Plans for the future include the establishment of a small animal facility, the upgrading of the mini-core mass spectrometry laboratory, and the introduction of a four-year Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) program at Lincoln University.

Dr. Michael Chorney, informed President Jennings of the partnership between Lincoln University and Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine that has resulted in the signing of an MOU in 2005 and support by Penn State faculty in the implementation of the RIMI grant.

Dr. Anna Hull informed President Jennings of her sub-project titled: The effect of isothiocyanate consumption on NNK metabolism in smokers. The goal is to measure the nicotine derived nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) and isothiocyanate (ITC) in the urine of smokers to determine if the consumption of ITC (which are uniquely derived from cruciferous vegetables) alter the metabolism and/or excretion of nicotine metabolites such as NNK and its breakdown products in smokers. In addition, the project aims to determine if genetic differences among smokers modulate the effect of ITC consumption on NNK metabolism.

Dr. Derrick Swinton also discussed his project titled: Development of a quantitative and sensitive liquid chromatographic/mass spectrometric method to correlate the metabolic profile of African American smokers with smoking cessation rate. The research is primarily concerned with understanding why African Americans are disproportionately susceptible to tobacco and smoking-related diseases. His research involves using mass spectrometry techniques to investigate metabolic profiles of African American smokers and isolate biomarkers that may enhance our understanding of this health disparity.

Dr. Chikwem discussed Dr. Karen Baskerville's project titled: Effects of diet and age on neurovascular complications of diabetes. The project aims at determining if an antioxidant-rich diet can reduce or prevent the detrimental effects of diabetes on the aged brain and retina. Stroke and retinopathy are of interest because they both are major complications of diabetes, and their incidence and outcome are disparate among racial and ethnic groups.
President Jennings expressed his gratitude to Drs. Chikwem, Swinton and Hull, and faculty of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for continually pursuing opportunities that will enhance Lincoln University. Furthermore, President Jennings was extremely pleased with the progress of the grant research projects, technological advancements gained by the university and prospective partnerships that the RIMI grant program has made available. "Through a collaborative effort by the administration and faculty of Lincoln University in conjunction with partnering institutions, the capabilities of the oldest Historically Black College and University are beyond measure and very promising, stated President Jennings. He promised to work with the RIMI implementation group to realize the goals and objectives of the grant.
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