UAF BLaST Faculty Jeff McFarlane Receives NIH Grant to Expand Pilot Project

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By Amy Topkok

Jeff McFarlane, PhD, a BLaST Faculty Pilot Project awardee (2020-2022) and assistant professor of chemistry at Fort Lewis College, received an NIH R16 Support for Research Excellence (SuRE) Program award (1R16GM146714-01) that started July 15 and will provide $125,000 annually for the next four years. The SuRE Program is targeted toward institutions that serve underrepresented student populations and receive less than $6 million per year in R funding. McFarlane’s project is focused on characterizing polyamine biosynthetic enzymes from the human gut microbiome that are associated with disease processes such as colon cancer. The project is an expansion of his BLaST faculty pilot project. 

Fort Lewis College is one of BLaST’s partner institutions that has supported 63 BLaST Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) awards since Spring 2019. Of those, McFarlane has mentored three UREs: Josh Dodd, Maddy Shoemaker and Kaleb Todd.

“Over the past three years, I’ve received incredibly valuable support through the BLaST program. I believe this support was critical to my successful R16 proposal,” McFarlane said. “The preliminary data collection was aided by my pilot grant and the research was performed by undergraduate students, including BLaST URE recipients Josh Dodd [2020], Maddy Shoemaker [2021] and Kaleb Todd [2019], as well as other undergraduates Danielle Lee [2021] and Shade Bouchey [2021] who were supported by my BLaST faculty pilot grant funding. Thanks BLaST!!”

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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