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Hussa and Toyota Receive Grant from the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence

by Web on July 6, 2015


Two Millsaps College professors have received a grant to support development of science classes that will investigate the questions: “Will the World Be Ruled by Zombies?” and “The Five Second Rule: Can I Still Eat It?”

Dr. Cory Toyota, assistant professor of organic chemistry, and Dr. Elizabeth A. Hussa, assistant professor of biology, have been awarded a $27,644 grant from the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) to support development of the courses.

Toyota will develop and teach the biochemistry course “Will the Word Be Ruled by Zombies?” and Hussa will develop and teach the microbiology class, “The Five Second Rule: Can I Still Eat It?”

With a name meant to pique a student’s interest, each course will guide first-year students as they use the scientific method and solve problems using the perspective of a research scientist.

“Our universal goal with these classes is to establish a new method of student-driven learning among freshmen, which will hopefully make it more exciting and engaging to learn science as science is done--by applying the scientific method--instead of reading a textbook,” Toyota said.

The National Institutes of Health funds the MS-INBRE program to promote biomedical-related research and training in the state.

Seven Millsaps College faculty members have received research funding in the last three years, but the curriculum grant is new in that it allows professors to develop STEM courses and generate increased excitement for the health sciences, Hussa said.

“This grant gives us the opportunity to develop and run our courses with the best opportunity for student learning, allowing us to acquire both the tools and personnel needed to support a wide variety of experimental inquiry,” she said.

The courses Toyota and Hussa are developing tie directly to the College’s new Compass Curriculum as Ventures courses, which will be offered to all first-year students beginning in the fall of 2015.

Ventures courses explore a problem or tightly focused set of problems. Students will investigate relevant issues from multiple perspectives and propose possibilities for resolution, engaging in project-based work, collaborative learning, creative risk-taking, and adaptive strategies for problem solving.

For more information about the full Compass Curriculum, click here.