Nihal Dharmasiri, assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Texas State, has been awarded a CAREER grant, the second most prestigious award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Only the PECASE (Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers) is more prestigious; it is awarded only to faculty who have held a CAREER award.
Dharmasiri will conduct research in plant growth and development--specifically in relation to the plant hormone auxin, which is a “small organic molecule, [with the] ability to control the whole life of plant growth” Dharmasiri said.
The grant will also support undergraduate and graduate students in Dharmasiri’s lab. In addition, Dharmasiri will encourage high school students to become involved in science and research through summer programs. He will be reaching out to high school students, to make them more interested in science before they come to college. “So many high school students are afraid of going into science because they think it’s hard. So if we bring them here, they can try doing these things. And once they try it, they might become interested in it,” Dharmasiri said.
Dharmasiri also plans to use the grant for two experimental modules. One module will be introduced in an undergraduate plant physiology class that he currently teaches. In the other module, he will be collaborating with Sandra West, an associate professor of biology, on projects for preservice and inservice teachers.
(Thanks to Chelsea Stockton.)