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Contact: Teresa S. Thomas

For immediate release:
July 9, 2002

Carnegie Mellon University Receives $2.2 Million from Howard Hughes Medical Institute

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University will receive a four-year, $2.2 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to continue its development of highly interdisciplinary undergraduate programs in the biological sciences.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a medical research organization whose principal mission is biomedical research. This year, HHMI gave a total of $80 million in grants to 44 universities nationwide to enhance undergraduate education.

Carnegie Mellon's $2.2 million grant was one of the largest awarded this year. Three previous grants to Carnegie Mellon from HHMI totaled $4.2 million.

Elizabeth Jones, head of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon, said the grant will allow the department to "continue its strong commitment to undergraduate research, to equip and roll out a new interdisciplinary laboratory, and to strengthen and expand our interdisciplinary education programs."

"Funding from HHMI is very beneficial to our students at Carnegie Mellon. It has allowed hundreds of undergraduates to do research in faculty labs, has allowed us to develop and equip laboratory modules that use highly sophisticated, state of the art equipment, to develop an undergraduate major in computational biology and even to develop substantial online curricular materials," Jones added.

"Biology is progressing so rapidly and interfacing with so many other disciplines that undergraduate teaching runs the risk of substituting quantity for quality," said HHMI President Thomas R. Cech, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist. "Through these grants, the Institute is providing resources to help universities bring their undergraduate science teaching up to the level of their research programs."

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has laboratories at 70 medical centers and universities throughout the United States. Since 1988, the HHMI has awarded more than $556 million to 236 colleges and universities.


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