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MIT gets $1.4M for biology education

MIT will receive $1.4 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) of Chevy Chase, MD, for undergraduate education in the biological sciences.

HHMI announced today that MIT is one of 58 research and doctoral universities that will receive a total of $91.1 million over the next four years. HHMI's undergraduate grants program is the largest private initiative in US history to enhance undergraduate science education nationwide.

MIT has previously received grants under HHMI's undergraduate program that were used for research opportunities for undergraduates, new lab equipment and technology and other purposes.

"The generous support from HHMI illustrates once more the leadership role that MIT's biology department plays in undergraduate education in the life sciences," said Robert J. Birgeneau, dean of science. "This shows that as well as being known as one of the leading research departments in the country, the hallmark of MIT biology is undergraduate education."

Purnell W. Choppin, HHMI president, said that funding from the medical institute is making it possible for large numbers of students nationwide to get involved in original research projects.

At MIT, biology students are encouraged to acquire familiarity with advanced research techniques by conducting research in project-oriented laboratory subjects and in the department's research laboratories. Small seminar courses introduce advanced undergraduates to methods of contemporary biological research and the logic of experimental design and interpretation.

In addition to its grants initiatives, HHMI conducts biomedical research. More than 330 Howard Hughes scientists in cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience and structural biology work at 72 medical centers and universities nationwide. More information can be found at the HHMI web site.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 16, 1998.

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