Bethany, W.Va.— Bethany College has been named a recipient of the 2007 West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (WVEPSCoR) Instrumentation and Innovation grant. $20,000 will be given to Bethany to purchase equipment that will enhance and expand teaching and research in physiology and behavior in the biology department.

The funds will establish a learning laboratory for autorhythmometry, the use of equipment to monitor and analyze one’s own physiology, and cycles research. The new equipment will be housed in a designated laboratory in Kirkpatrick Hall and will have a substantial impact on student learning in animal physiology, biological rhythms and genetics. Senior research projects will also benefit from the purchase of this equipment.

The funding begins January 1, 2007 and the new equipment will be in place for the start of the spring semester at Bethany. Most of the equipment measures familiar vital signs and will be immediately integrated into teaching and research programs.

John T. Burns, professor of biology at Bethany College, applied for the grant. “This substantial enhancement of the equipment available for students will help assure Bethany’s continued ability to produce students who can successfully compete for opportunities at professional and graduate schools,” said Burns.

The new equipment will allow each student to spend more time engaged in the process of carrying out experiments. Lab groups will be made up of two or three students, rather than four or five, which will generate more hands-on learning. As students gain a greater familiarity with the equipment, they will then be able to design and execute senior research projects that will utilize the equipment in ways beyond typical laboratory sessions.

In the summer months the equipment will be used in an ongoing faculty/student research project that monitors the effects of travel on the circadian rhythms of fruit flies. This experiment has been carried out over the past four years by transporting two strains of fruit flies by van from Bethany to Fresno, California.

The grant is awarded by WVEPSCoR which is responsible for development, administration, management and implementation of West Virginia’s experimental research improvement program. The WVEPSCoR office administers grant and education programs in conjunction with the primary Research Infrastructure Improvement award from the National Science Foundation and provides proposal development assistance to researchers.