(WTVM/WXTX) - Nearly $150,000 has been awarded to Fort Valley State University.
The announcement comes from Congressman Sanford Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) who says the $149,999 grant was awarded to the university's College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Capacity Building Grants Program.
The funds will support the creation of courses and a laboratory that teaches students hands-on training in bioinformatics, an interdisciplinary field of science that combines computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering to analyze and interpret biological data.
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the Curriculum and Infrastructure Development for Enhancing Student's Experiential Learning in Bioinformatics Grant to Dr. Ramana Gosukonda, a FVSU associate professor of agricultural sciences and Dr. Eugene Amoah and Dr. Ajit Mahapatra, FVSU agricultural research scientists.
"With bioinformatics skills, students can write programs for biology research, design drugs or learn methods for growing better crops," said Dr. Ramana Gosukonda, Associate Professor of Agricultural Sciences at FVSU. "Generally students may be very good in biology but lack computational skills. They may be strong in computer science and lack a biology background. My goal here is to bring them together so students can benefit from this new field and be marketable for industry jobs or help them develop the skills for solving biological problems and understanding human diseases."
"Bioinformatics is fundamental to the growth of the economy and future scientific endeavors," said Congressman Bishop. "The expansion of Fort Valley State University's bioinformatics programs will lead to successful careers for more students at FVSU. I applaud Drs. Gosukonda, Amoah and Mahapatra for taking the initiative to improve Fort Valley State University."
"I congratulate Dr. Gosukonda and the co-principal investigators on this achievement," said Dr. Govind Kannan, dean of FVSU's College of Agriculture, Family Sciences, and Technology. "This grant comes at a time when we are trying to strengthen our undergraduate and graduate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curricula. I am sure infusing bioinformatics in our biotechnology syllabi will add great value to the programs."
For more information about FVSU College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, click here http://ag.fvsu.edu/