Academia, Campus, News

Two BU professors receive $1 million grants for hands-on research

Two Boston University professors were awarded Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professorships Monday, garnering HHMI’s five-year, $1 million grants for the first time in BU’s history.

Professorship recipient David Marchant heads BU’s Antarctic Research Group, which focuses not only on research in the field but education and outreach as well. Marchant, a professor of earth & environment in the College of Arts and Sciences, travels to Antarctica with undergraduate and graduate-level students to conduct research spanning from climate change to the evolution of land surfaces.

Marchant’s student-run field blog chronicles the research he and his team conduct in Antarctica and guides readers through ongoing projects with photographs and captions. The blog reflects Marchant’s emphasis on education and outreach and includes a question and answer section responding to letters sent by science students in K-12 schools.

Recipient Muhammad Zaman serves as the associate chair for undergraduate study in biomedical engineering and conducts research on cell biology, mechanics, systems biology and medicine.

Zaman’s research also focuses on global health issues, and his lab at BU collaborates with the Center for Global Health and other medical and engineering institutions to develop solutions to global problems. In 2012, Zaman and his students developed a pulse oximeter – which measures the level of oxygen in a patient’s blood – designed for use by health workers in Zambia to diagnose pneumonia in children in the developing world.

Both Zaman and Marchant plan to use their HHMI Professorships, awarded for innovative teaching approaches in undergraduate education and research, to continue to push their integration of hands-on research with formal undergraduate study.

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