Thanks to a recent donation from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Cameron University students will have the tools necessary to conduct cutting-edge genetic research alongside leading scientists this fall.
OMRF, which has garnered international attention for its research on Alzheimer’s disease, lupus and other diseases and disorders, has donated two automated DNA sequencers to Cameron’s biological sciences department.
The sequencers, manufactured by LI-COR Biosciences, were previously used in gene identification at OMRF facilities in Oklahoma City. OMRF, which recently upgraded its DNA lab equipment, chose to donate the equipment to CU for use in undergraduate research in cellular and molecular biology and genetics.
“At the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, we used these sequencers to study the genes of people who suffer from lupus,” said Dr. John Harley, who heads OMRF’s Arthritis and Immunology Research Program. “They will be ideal training platforms for undergraduates, providing hands-on research experience. We hope that these sequencers, which served the foundation well for many years, will help train a new generation of scientists.”
LI-COR will provide installation and set up services as part of the company’s commitment to support undergraduate training in molecular biology. The LI-COR sequencer is well-suited for undergraduate education because of its modular design, which can be adapted to additional capabilities as the needs of the Cameron curriculum grow. Additionally, the system is designed to withstand the rigors of student use.
Dr. Jim Johnson and Cameron professor Dr. Carla Guthridge, who helped arrange for the equipment donation, plan to use the equipment for advanced research projects utilizing recombinant DNA technologies, as well as for projects focusing on species identification and classification. The equipment will give Cameron students experience working with advanced DNA technology, an opportunity available at few regional universities in Oklahoma.
“We are extremely grateful to Dr. Harley and the OMRF for this generous donation and to LI-COR for providing installation and support for this equipment,” Guthridge said. “These sequencers will enable us to expose our students to higher-end biotechnology at an earlier stage in their education and provide hands-on experience in current techniques and use of equipment that many primarily undergraduate institutions have difficulty providing.
“We hope to spark their interest in research and, at the same time, provide them with the opportunity to gain technical experience that will allow them to be competitive in their pursuit of education and career opportunities in today’s research environment.”
The equipment, which will be housed in the state-of-the-art Cameron Sciences Complex, is scheduled to be fully operational by mid-summer, and incorporated into classroom curriculum in the fall.
“This is a prime example of just one of the many partnerships that Cameron builds with statewide organizations to enhance the educational opportunities available to our students,” said Cameron President Cindy Ross. “We are extremely grateful to the foundation for its donation and leadership in this cooperative venture.”
OMRF, a non-profit biomedical research foundation, also works with the university to develop internships and research projects for Cameron students.