At University of California-Santa Barbara, hundreds of sophomores take the introductory biology course each year. Soon, each one will have the opportunity to perform original research on the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, a widely used genetic model for biomedical research, thanks to a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The grant is part of HHMI’s commitment to helping universities strengthen undergraduate and pre-college science education nationwide. HHMI announced Thursday a total of $70 million in grants to research universities across the nation to advance these efforts.

The inspiration for much of the new curriculum at UCSB came from the experience of Joel Rothman, a biology professor and chairman of the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, when he directed the summer embryology course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. During the MBL course, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows spent three days conducting original experiments on C. elegans. Despite the time limitations, these advanced students were able to make original scientific discoveries, and came away with an appreciation for this area of research. 

Source: UCSB to Receive $1 Million for Biology Research | News Releases –