Dr. Mario Garcia-Rios, assistant professor of biology and chemistry at Texas A&M International University, has been awarded a $57,500 grant from the Department of Defense's Office of Naval Research (ONR).
The ONR grant, which will be administered by Dr. Garcia-Rios, will support an Undergraduate Summer Research Apprentice Program in biomolecular science areas at A&M International, Texas A&M University in College Station, and St. Mary's University in San Antonio.
"This is a faculty-mentored, scientific-enhancement program which aims to enhance the research training of future scientists. It is unique in that the directional leadership is provided by faculty members who know the potential of their students for research," he said.
This summer six A&M International University undergraduate students will participate in the program. Three students participating in the program at College Station will conduct research related to the ONR's interests in biologically inspired design of sensors, materials, and processes.
Three students participating in the program at A&M International will assist with research in biodegradation of pesticides found in the Rio Grande and evaluation of the toxicity of sediments in the Rio Grande. The research in biodegradation of pesticides is headed by Dr. Garcia-Rios. The evaluation of the toxicity of Rio Grande sediments is headed by Dr. Sushma Krisnamurthy, assistant professor of biology at A&M International.
Garcia-Rios noted that the students participating in the summer program will receive much needed experience.
"Most of the students participating in the summer research program are considering careers in scientific research but have no experience conducting research. By giving them the opportunity to engage in the scientific process and to contribute technical support for research in research laboratories, they are more likely to pursue research-related careers," he explained.
For more information on the Undergraduate Summer Research Apprentice Program at A&M International, please contact Dr. Garcia-Rios at 326-2585. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.