The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program has announced the recipients of its FY17 Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-2 awards. The RII Track-2 program is intended to build national research strengths in targeted focus areas by catalyzing collaborations across institutions in two or more EPSCoR jurisdictions.
Dr. Rajesh Sani, a microbiologist and associate professor in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, has been awarded one of these projects. He will lead a consortium of experts from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Montana State University and the University of Oklahoma. The project is entitled Building Genome-to-Phenome Infrastructure for Regulating Methane in Deep and Extreme Environments (BuG ReMeDEE). The overarching goals of the BuG ReMeDEE consortium are to investigate methane cycling in deep and extreme environments and develop new biological routes for converting methane into value-added products.
This year’s NSF EPSCoR RII Track-2 program sought to build capacity to research enhance our understanding of the relationship an organism’s genetic make-up, or genotype, and its physical characteristics, or phenotype. The genotype-to-phenotype relationship has significant societal and economic implications across many scientific fields and areas of industry, including but not limited to medicine, agriculture, biotechnology and ecology. An enhanced understanding of this relationship holds the potential for improved food crop yields, better prediction of human disease risk and new drug therapies. Through these investments, NSF EPSCoR sought to provide the scientific community with new tools and resources for future discoveries.