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FVSU receives $198,404 Grant From the Dept of Defense's HBCU/Minority Institutions

FVSU receives $198,404 Grant From the Dept of Defense
Posted By: on August 11, 2008

State-of-the-art facility focuses on bioinformatics
By Natasha Smith - nsmith@macon.com

FORT VALLEY --
Fort Valley State University is preparing to provide the tools for one of its students to possibly find the cure to a terminal disease or identify future diseases.

When students arrive on campus in next week, they will find a new state-of-the-art science laboratory.

The university recently received a $198,404 grant from the Department of Defense's Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions program to create a bioinformatics laboratory.

Bioinformatics combines computer science and biological knowledge to understand diseases, create new ****, develop gene therapy and produce nutritious foods.

The laboratory, which will be located in the W.W.E. Blanchet Computer, Technology and Mathematics Building, will contain a server and computers that will help students and faculty to acquire and analyze genetic data.



The area will also contain equipment that will aid in interactive learning, wireless networking and audio-video systems.

Ramana Gosukonda, professor of mathematics and computer science, began offering a course in bioinformatics during the spring 2007 semester. He was overwhelmed by the positive responses received from both computer science and biology students.

"Fort Valley State needs to be on top of this," Gosukonda said. "Not many universities are offering bioinformatics."

Government and industry are looking for professionals skilled in an area where education is mostly provided on the graduate and doctorate degree level, he said. With the laboratory, Gosukonda said, students can be more prepared to pursue those degrees.

The laboratory is not the end to the university's venture into the world of bioinformatics, the professor said. One day, he said, the university hopes to expand the lab into a full-fledged bioinformatics center and possibly offer the study as a major.

"This is a great opportunity for Fort Valley State University," Gosukonda said.

To contact writer Natasha Smith, call 923-3109, extension 236.
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