UMass Lowell Receives $1M in Life Sciences Grants

08/27/2008



LOWELL, Mass. ߝ UMass Lowell was recently awarded more than $1 million in matching grants by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center board to fund scientific research and new faculty.

UMass Lowell is one of only four institutions ߝ along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University and UMass Amherst ߝ to receive more than one grant from the board. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center was established by the Legislature in 2006 to strengthen the life sciences sector in the state and its work includes advancing Gov. Deval Patrick’s new $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative.

UMass Lowell is one of five universities awarded a New Faculty Grant, intended to recruit nationally prominent researchers to the Commonwealth with expertise in biomanufacturing science and engineering. The grant ߝ $750,000 over three years ߝ will go to hire a new faculty member in chemical engineering who will teach and conduct research as a member of the Massachusetts Biomanufacturing Center’s interdisciplinary team, according to Carl Lawton, the center’s director and an associate professor of chemical engineering.

The center works with manufacturers and equipment suppliers in the biotechnology industry, and has played a role in bringing companies like Bristol Myers Squibb to Massachusetts. A third of the 100,000 new jobs projected in the biotech sector in the state are connected to biomanufacturing.

Xingwei Wang, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is one of seven researchers statewide selected for a New Investigator Award, designed to advance the careers of promising new researchers. Wang will receive $100,000 during each of the next three years to support her work to develop of miniature bio-sensing probes for use in the rapid detection of viruses from influenza to tuberculosis, as well as bacteria and other cells.

The sensors are tiny ߝ the diameter of a human hair ߝ and are being developed for use in everything from health care to common household items like kitchen utensils or toothbrushes to detect food- or water-borne bacteria, says Wang. The grant will support work to further demonstrate the sensors’ capability through modeling and laboratory tests.

Wang’s proposal was among 35 considered for a New Investigator Award. Other recipients are from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston University, Broad Institute, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts Veterinary School, UMass Amherst and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

UMass Lowell, with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 12,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu.

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For more information, contact media@uml.edu or 978-934-3224