FSU-FAMU Partnership Awarded Funding for Corn Research
By Andrew J. Mitchell, Jr.
The National Science Foundations’ Plant Genome Research Program has awarded a $2.1 million research maize grant to Florida A&M and Florida State universities’ researchers.
Hank Bass and Oghenekome Onokpise have led the partnership between the universities’ research in similar grants since the late 1990s. They both orchestrated a proposal to provide a resource for the maize community and benefit college students with research project opportunities with this grant.
The research for the funding focuses on developing genome-wide corn mapping for five types of tissues in the plant.
Bass is a professor investigating the structure and function of chromosomes during meiosis and believes this grant findings will help for the future of plants.
“The information we release will help point to regulatory regions that coordinate genetic control impacting traits of all types, from yield plant growth and development,” Bass said. “The chromatin profiling maps we make are expected to be used by many different research labs for a variety of purposes, and in that way, we are contributing a foundational resource to help integrate/make meaningful connections across different projects world wide.”
Bass’ philosophy on how they are so successful is because of their intellectual merit on their proposals and how they emphasize the broader impact of training of underrepresented groups such as African Americans.
Onokpise is an award-winning scientist who serves as associate dean of FAMU’s Academics Program for the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture. He is proud of the grant and what it means for his university as well.
“The grant means that Florida A&M University is actively engaged in cutting edge research while at the same time educating the next generation of young African Americans and other minority scientists,” Onokpise said. “I am very excited about these opportunities over the next four years.”
The grant plans to help the future in plant education for qualified students interested in the plant projects. The ultimate greater initiative is to push for research that improves plants for feed, food and fuel.