UAFS Professors Awarded $74K in Grants

UAFS Professors Awarded $74K in Grants

Two professors at the college of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith have received grants totaling more than $74,000 from the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) to advance undergraduate research at the university.

Souvik Banerjee, Ph.D., assistant professor of organic and medicinal chemistry, applied for and received a grant for $38,250 for a research proposal called “Tubulin Polymerization Inhibitors for the Treatment of Resistant Metastatic Mela.”

He will be assisted by two undergraduate students, Bobbi Evans and Joshua Thammathong, in the two-year project that aims to develop independent research in the field of small molecule drug discovery targeting cancer.

“Two undergraduate students at the UA Fort Smith will gain in-lab experience for molecular modeling guided synthesis and will cross-train in cancer biology experimental techniques thanks to the INBRE funding, and upon completion of this initial study, we anticipate having at least two lead compounds to screen in pre-clinical mouse models of melanoma” Banerjee said in a news release. “This funding will also allow us to train additional UAFS students in the state-of-the-art drug design and development.

Mohammad Halim, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, received $36,341 for his research project called “Structure-Guided Design of Antiviral Peptides Against SARS-CoV-2.” Undergraduate students Sydney Du and Honey Matevia will assist him.

“This grant will promote research culture at UAFS, introducing interdisciplinary research experiences to undergraduate students, helping them to learn the broad spectrum of computational and experimental techniques, and gain skills on collaborative.” ” Halim said in the release. “These diverse research experiences in computational chemistry, peptide synthesis and characterization, native MS, ITC and NMR will also help students pursue graduate studies in biomedical sciences or secure positions in the pharmaceutical and biochemical industries."