January 26, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) today recognized faculty members at institutions across West Virginia who were awarded more than $300,000 in scientific research grants over the past year. The ceremony was held at the State Culture Center, in conjunction with Undergraduate Research Day at the State Capitol.

Secretary of Education and the Arts Kay Goodwin, the Commission’s Interim Chancellor Paul Hill, and the Division of Science and Research’s Director of Research Programs Jan Taylor presented awards from West Virginia’s Research Challenge Fund and Research Trust Fund, commonly known as “Bucks for Brains.” Also speaking at the event were Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp and West Virginia University President James P. Clements.

“Our institutions of higher education continue to develop scientific studies and research that benefit the nation with new knowledge while providing educational and economic development opportunities to our citizens,” said Secretary Goodwin. “I strongly support these institutions in their efforts to make West Virginia and the nation a better place in which to live.”  

Today’s recognition included the third round of awards which were made possible by interest earned on the Research Trust Fund; Instrumentation Grants funded by scientific equipment for advanced undergraduate laboratories; Innovation Grants for creative improvements in scientific equipment and facilities, curriculum, classroom instruction, or delivery; and Mini Grants for faculty to prepare research proposals.

“These awards and the opportunities they provide are made possible by the forward-thinking leadership of our Governor and the Legislature,” Hill said. “Supporting an innovative climate at our institutions is the best way to grow research competitiveness and create new opportunities across the state.”

Undergraduate Research Day is an annual event held at the State Capitol to showcase research projects conducted by students from across the state. Sponsors include the Commission’s Division of Science and Research, the Council on Undergraduate Research, the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, and the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE). The Division of Science and Research administers state- and federal-level scientific research grants in West Virginia. For more information, visit www.wvresearch.org.


Research Incubator Grant: This award is for research at a primarily undergraduate institution or a community and technical college.

  • $50,000 to Yi ‘Charlie’ Chen, Alderson-Broaddus College, for his project, “Nanochemoprevention as a novel approach for cancer control.”

2012 Innovation Grants: These awards are used for creative improvements to scientific equipment and facilities, curriculum, classroom instruction or delivery.

  • $30,294 to Kourosh Sedghisigarchi, WVU Institute of Technology, for his project, “SMART GRID Education Package (Course and Laboratory) Development at WVU Institute of Technology.”
  • $40,000 to Edward Wovcho for his project, “Enhancing the Chemistry Program at West Virginia Wesleyan College with Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry.”

2012 Instrumentation Grants:  These awards fund scientific equipment for advanced undergraduate laboratories.

  • $15,911 to Kim Bjorgo-Thorne of West Virginia Wesleyan College for “Student Achievement through Scientific Data Collection via Integration of Remote Data Collection Technology across the Curriculum.”
  • $20,000 to Timothy Corrigan of Concord University for “Atomic Force Microscope for Undergraduate Teaching and Research.”
  • $18,234 to Dan DiLella of Shepherd University for “Upgrade of HPLC and Electrochemical Capabilities.”
  • $8,658 to Gary Morris of Glenville State College for “Improving Undergraduate Biochemistry Education with a NanoDrop Spectrophotometer.”
  • $19,755 to Carol Plautz of Shepherd University for “Request for a Multimode Microplate Reader.”

Mini Grants ($5,000 each): These awards aid faculty members in the preparation of research or research equipment proposals for submission to external agencies or foundations.

  • Gary E. Schultz, Jr., Marshall University
  • K. Subramani, West Virginia University
  • Sarah Umphress, West Virginia University Institute of Technology
  • Bin Wang, Marshall University

Research Trust Fund Awards

  • $100,000 to West Virginia State University for acquisition of a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. This award is distributed as a result of interest earned on the Research Trust Fund, or “Bucks for Brains.”