Chemistry professor receives grant for biomedical research

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Dordt receives $350,916 grant from National Institutes of Health

Dr. Zhu

Dr. Joshua Zhu, associate professor of chemistry at Dordt University, was awarded a $350,916 grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for pharmacology, physiology, and biological chemistry research.

“With this grant, we will be able to use chemistry tools to explore how the immunological protein (CCR5) is involved in biological processes such as immune responses and disease development,” says Zhu. “In the process of this research, we are hoping to expose our undergraduate students to the frontier field of biomedical related research.”

This research project will allow student researchers to have the opportunity to learn how to use organic chemistry and biochemistry technologies to understand the delicate structures of peptides and proteins and their functions in biological systems, especially in the immune system.

Dr. Leah Zuidema, vice president for academic affairs, says that Zhu is passionate about connecting research with teaching. “In the classroom, he frequently shares examples from his research in order to bring students into a research mindset,” she says. “His curiosity is catching. He wants to better understand God’s created order, and he helps students to see their research in this way, too."

“Winning this grant is wonderful for Dr. Zhu, and it is also a win for students,” adds Zuidema. “With this grant, the undergraduate student researchers will have more extended opportunities to learn alongside Dr. Zhu, and these experiences will help them as they apply for graduate or medical school and apply their learning in their future workplaces.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, the goals of the grant are to “support meritorious research, expose students to research, and strengthen the research environment of the institution.”

“This grant provides an exciting opportunity for students to participate as members of the research team,” says Angela Kroeze Visser, director of Dordt’s Kielstra Center for Research and Grants. “Dr. Zhu will lead the team and provide training and mentorship to student researchers. This project contributes to the ongoing development of our undergraduate research program.”

Dordt University’s Kielstra Center for Research and Grants is a research and scholarship incubator that seeks to expand faculty and student perspectives and competencies across disciplines with areas of focus on undergraduate research and scholarly faculty endeavors.

Dordt University offers natural science programs in chemistry, biology, environmental studies, nursing, and agriculture, as well as programs in the physical sciences.

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Dordt, located in Sioux Center, Iowa, is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.

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Research information reported in this release was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health under award number R15GM144930.

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.