Chemistry Faculty Member Awarded BRIN Collaborative Research Grant (May 9, 2002)

It has just been announced that Dr. Chasta Parker, Assistant Professor of Chemistry in collaboration Dr. James Sodetz, Professor of Biochemistry at USC, has been awarded a $70,988 EPSCor/BRIN Collaborative Research Program Grant.  Winthrop's share of the grant is $56,560. The grant will support research on the Structural Analysis of the Membrane-Binding Domain of Human Complement Protein C8a; it will involve a number of students at Winthrop over the next 18 months in both research and course work.

The Collaborative Research Program is a statewide effort to build research infrastructure at primarily undergraduate institutions throughout the state.  The program requires collaborative partnerships between faculty at primarily undergraduate schools and research university faculty who are currently the Principal Investigator on another major funded research grant.

11 of the 43 proposals submitted to the CRP were competitively selected for funding after a series of external peer reviews.  Funds are being sought for another 9 of the submitted proposals.  Word is expected out soon on these.

Dr. Parker's grant provides funding for student and faculty research, for equipment, and for research supplies.  The research grant will result in the funding of an FPLC for protein purification at Winthrop and adds a major new capability to the extensive suite of biochemistry laboratories that were added during the recently completed Sims renovation.

Dr. Parker's project would directly involve six to nine Winthrop research students during summers and during two academic years and would be a tremendous boost to the student biochemistry research program.  Students (six to ten) in the biochemistry investigative course would also all actively participate in some aspect of the proposed research at an important time in their undergraduate development as they decide what graduate area of specialization to pursue. Approximately 22 students in the biochemical techniques laboratory course this fall will be using the FPLC funded by this grant for protein work on a number of laboratory projects.

Dr. Parker's grant will also increase the state funding that Winthrop will receive in future years, since the current funding formula adds to Winthrop's allocation an additional 37.5% of all research expenditures that are made with non-state funds.

Dr. Parker is a summa cum laude graduate of the ACS certified chemistry program at Salisbury State University and recently completed her Ph.D. at USC under the direction of Dr. Sodetz.  Chasta joined the Winthrop faculty in August 2001.