Carolyn King Ragan Charitable Foundation awards TMU $20,000 grant

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By Gary Jarnagin

CLEVELAND – Andrew Fabich, associate professor of microbiology in the Pilgram Marpeck School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), recently received a grant of $20,000 from the Carolyn King Ragan Charitable Foundation to purchase a DNA Sequencer.

Undergraduate and graduate students in STEM program at TMU will now have the opportunity to use a DNA Sequencer to find the exact information found in DNA, as it relates to genomes of intestine-adapted strains of E. coli. TMU/Special

The DNA Sequencer will be used to find the exact information found in DNA, as it relates to genomes of intestine-adapted strains of E. coli. Fabich explained that, with the use of this new piece of equipment, students will learn the recipe for how to make a protein, since proteins carry out all of life’s functions within organisms.

“Genetic diseases are mutated DNA that causes a change in protein production,” explained Fabich. “By knowing the gene sequence, research can provide what protein individuals need to replace the mutated protein for those whose systems are not operating properly. DNA sequencing will assist the student in knowing and understanding the gene sequence. The results of this research will discover, through inquiry, information in treatment development, progress better treatment options for immune deficiencies, and recognize the importance of DNA.”

With his extensive work with E. coli for over a decade, Fabich is not new to the DNA sequencing research. He has published many academic papers about E. coli, which contains information relative to E. coli sequencing. Most recently, Fabich published a genome for a closely related pathogen called Citrobacter rodentium. Citrobacter rodentium is a gram negative, enteric bacterium that is studied in mice, in hopes to find treatments or provide insights into gastroenteritis, cancer risk, and bowel disease. 

The DNA Sequencer will assist the School of STEM in completing sequencing of E. coli genomes utilizing both graduate and undergraduate students. “The information on the sequencing results will be assembled and uploaded to GenBank,” added the professor. “This is a world-wide repository for all curated DNA sequence information. The entire process will allow TMU students to submit their findings for publication in premier scientific journals and attend scientific conferences around the world to report on their findings.”

“The Carolyn King Ragan Charitable Foundation has been a supporter of TMU for many years,” stated Gary Jarnagin, director of financial development. “In fact, over the last 28 years, the Carolyn King Ragan Charitable Foundation has awarded Truett McConnell nearly $300,000 in grant awards. We are thrilled to be a partner with the King Ragan Foundation.”

The School of STEM offers much more than an average science degree. Robert Bowen, dean of the School of STEM and associate professor of physiology stated, “There are vast opportunities at the Pilgram Marpeck School of STEM for future scientists and scholars; and we provide an experience that transcends the science experience and glorifies Jesus Christ as the Lord of creation.” 

The degree programs offered in the School of STEM are: Master of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Science in Biology, and Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. For more information concerning undergraduate and graduate degrees at TMU, please call 706-865-2134, ext. 4303.

Gary Jarnagin serves as director of Financial Development at Truett McConnell University.

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