- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A scholars program based at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is offering college students a chance to conduct scientific research.

The INBRE program allowed Nebraska Wesleyan University student Carlie Pickrel to research this summer how the Epstein-Barr virus, a herpes strain commonly found in the human body, facilitated or hampered the growth of certain cancers, The Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1SNboNv ) reported. She presented her research earlier this week to 23 other undergraduate students in the program, as well as other biomedical researchers.

INBRE is funded through the National Institutes of Health, and it’s available in 24 states, plus Puerto Rico, which traditionally aren’t competitive in receiving federally funded grants for scientific research, said the program’s director, Dr. Jim Turpen.

Turpen, who teaches at the medical center’s Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy, said most of the states that qualify for the program are “rural states.”

States that historically have been competitive in securing grant funding tend to have larger populations. Through INBRE, students who grow up in rural areas and attend colleges that don’t receive a large amount of grant funding can still be exposed to biomedical fields through scientific research.

“INBRE provides the funds and connections to do research and gives us access to rare scientific equipment we would not normally have access to,” Pickrel said.

Many of the undergraduate students who have participated in the program continue on to graduate schools, professional schools or work in science-related fields. Turpen said the success rate has led to multiple renewals for the program, including the most recent five-year, $16.2 million extension.

“We get the best and the brightest,” he said. “We need scientifically trained people for the workforce and to develop a biomedical industry here in Nebraska, and (NIH) has said we’re doing the right thing.”


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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