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December 15, 2012

Grant boosts Hartwick bio-research project

A grant Hartwick College recently received from the National Science Foundation will help an assistant professor and two of her students pursue their research, according to a media release from the college.

The $37,348 grant is helping fund a collaborative research project that began in 2010. The research is on the role of biofilm, a community of organisms that adhere to environmental surfaces, in the breakdown of minerals and nutrient uptake.

The work has been directed by Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brunstad, assistant professor in the departments of chemistry, geology and environmental sciences at Hartwick College, in collaboration with Kent Keller at Washington State University.

Hartwick seniors Kyle Greenberg and Sheila Niedziela worked with her and collaborators at Washington State University and at the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

The grant provides Balogh-Brunstad an opportunity to work on topics she is interested in and involve undergraduate students in real research with cutting-edge technology, she said in an email.

Hartwick grant officer Margaret Arthurs said by phone Friday that the funding has allowed the undergraduate students to present their results at several national and international conferences.

As the group continues to analyze the data collected to date, there have been no conclusions drawn thus far, according to the release. The research team looks forward to compiling results based on its findings and presenting them at other conferences and meetings.

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