Dr. Dasgupta’s lab uses a quantitative approach to look at biological systems to help gain a better understanding of patterns that occur in living organisms. Motivated to understand the underlying physics of how DNA fold and condense to fit in a much smaller cell, Dr. Dasgupta came up with a simplistic mechanical model which mimics such an environment or “active” system. External grant funding from American Association of University Women (AAUW) in the amount of $34,700 will allow her and student researchers to investigate and understand how orientation of obstacles in the path of the proteins walking on the surface of DNA impacts the folding time, or “passage time” in this model. The Dasgupta lab will also computationally simulate this system to compare obtained results from the experimental model to have a better understanding of this complex biological phenomena. The title of the study is “Impact of Spatial Arrangement of Passive Obstacles on First Passage Time of an Active System.”
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) awarded a grant to support Augsburg’s efforts to provide excellent clinical experiences to our nursing, physician assistant, and social work students. Recently, Augsburg received $772,153 from MDH. The sum will be re-distributed to 115 primary care clinical training sites which hosted Augsburg students during fiscal year 2019. This funding has been awarded to Augsburg through the Medical Education and Research Cost (MERC) grant program.
Leaders in the social work department reflected on how meaningful the grant award is. They shared that “The MERC grant supports internships for Augsburg’s MSW students in a variety of clinical care settings. Through these internships, MSW students are able to develop the depth and breadth of skills needed for clinical social work practice, including individual and group mental health therapy, skills training, resource referral, family support, advocacy, coordination across systems, and community-based prevention.”
Students in Augsburg’s nursing and physician assistant departments experience similar benefits. We sincerely thank the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care within MDH for their administration of the MERC grant program, which has become a building block of students’ preparation for healthcare careers.
Dr. Michael Wentzel (Chemistry) received a new grant award of nearly $15,000 from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Toxicity Reduction program. In the two-year project, green chemistry will be developed as a unifying theme throughout the chemistry curriculum at Augsburg University. Non-major courses will have a new introduction component to green chemistry emphasized in unique laboratory experiments. The chemistry major curriculum already has a large number of green chemistry principles woven in it, but this work will unify these into a clear message across multiple courses. Finally, a new course on green chemistry and toxicology will serve as a capstone on this theme. Dr. Wentzel will collaborate with multiple faculty in the Chemistry department, as well as undergraduate students, in order to carry out this impactful project.