National Science Foundation Awards Queensborough Community College Competitive Grant for Advanced Research Equipment

Published: October 21, 2021

Queensborough Community College has received $79,590 from the National Science Foundation to acquire an advanced imaging system, called LI-COR Odyssey M, used in molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell biology. With it, undergraduate research students will have access to one of the industry’s most modern imagers and learn sophisticated investigative and analytic laboratory skills.

“Our students will learn more, be better prepared for research in biology-related fields including Biotechnology, Health Sciences, Public Health and medicine,” said Dr. Sarbani Ghoshal, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences & Geology and Lead Principal Investigator of the grant.

“They will also be skilled to continue research tracks at the university level. This new addition makes Queensborough’s research laboratory and core facility more competitive and better equipped.”

Dr. Ghoshal added, “This multitasking imaging system, the most advanced in the market, allows for the application of sophisticated analytical techniques.”

“An ambitious proposal was critical in winning this NSF grant. “I have a heavy research program—many published scientific articles and excellent Co-PI’s, Drs. Rochelle Nelson and Andrew Nguyen who are both highly active in research, to support the proposal”.  Additional faculty members on the grant are Biological Sciences and Geology Professors Dr. Susan McLaughlin, Amos Orlofsky, Regina Sullivan, Mangala Tawde, Alison Mello and Sanjay Koul.

“All faculty members involved in this grant are dedicated to helping undergraduate students realize their potential even when they do not. This is one of the factors that inspired them to submit this proposal. This state-of-the-art imaging system will be used for Western Blotting, which is one of the most universally used technologies in biotechnology and molecular biology. It will be extremely impactful in helping students understand better the language of their research.

“As a mentor for undergraduate students, I integrate research with classroom teaching, training students in basic biology and biotechnology. This involves experiential learning and hands-on training in the recent techniques relevant to biomedical science. “

During the pandemic, Dr Ghoshal was proactive in research. “Good research involves reviewing literature:  what are other researchers doing? Additionally, we need to be creative to pursue research. One student was interested in fatty liver disease. If we were in person, I would have given the students slides to scan under microscope, instead the student scanned pictures of fatty livers and learned to analyze data and plot graphs. I trained and mentored 10-12 students in research during the pandemic. You can always keep the work going.”

Currently, fully vaccinated students are conducting research in the laboratories.

More than a third of the Biological Sciences and Geology department’s faculty members mentor students in research techniques and ethics every semester. Acquisition of this system will complement the campus’s undergraduate research core facility, which in part includes real-time PCR equipment, a FACS machine, and a confocal microscope. The newly acquired LI-COR Odyssey instrument will also be an integral part of the educational training in the Biotechnology Program and the newly formed Associates Program in Biology at Queensborough, thus impacting even more students.

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