The National Science Foundation has awarded a quartet of biological sciences faculty members a $252,639 instrumentation grant that will give Delaware State University students greater research opportunities.

The NSF grant will fund the purchase of an Agilent Technologies Seahorse, which measures the energy and metabolism of a cell.

In addition to enhancing research at DSU, this equipment will also be a critical component of the redesigned core curriculum in biology in the development of a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience that will provide an opportunity for students to participate in authentic research.

Michael Gitcho, associate professor, is the principal investigator of the grant, with = Hakeem Lawal, associate professor; Y. Hwan Kim, assistant professor; and Karl Milleti, assistant professor, all in the Department of Biological Sciences.

The Seahorse will serve four distinct projects:

— A project that investigates the connection between mitochondrial function and TDP-43, a nuclear ribonucleoprotein that has been implicated in many forms of neurodegeneration.

— A projects that is researching the role of dopamine in metabolic dysfunction related to neurodegeneration, focusing specifically on rotenone toxicity in a drosophila model,

— A projects that is also researching the role of dopamine in metabolic dysfunction related to neurodegeneration; however this research investigates the role of SUMOylation in preventing mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death.

— A fourth project investigates the role of CD44, a cell-surface glycoprotein important in the metabolic reprogramming of cells to glycolysis under hypoxic conditions.