BCTC Biotechnology Program Awarded $20,000 Grant

The Bluegrass Community and Technical Colleges (BCTC) Biotechnology program has been awarded a $20,000 grant by the Kentucky National Science Foundations Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (Ky-NSF EPSCoR) through the University of Kentucky.

The funds will be used to support four BCTC students during their research for the Aloe Project. The project is a long-term study investigating the possibility of using Aloe Vera as a biofuel. The BCTC Biotechnology program will partner with the University of Kentuckys Advanced Genetic Technologies Center on the project, which is part of a new focus on applied research in BCTC's Biotech curriculum.

Learning science should be an active endeavor that focuses on science as a process and not just a set of facts to memorize, BCTC biotechnology instructor Keith Devon Allen said in the grant proposal.

Allen will play a key role as the principal investigator of the BCTC Undergraduate Research Biotechnology in Education.

Four undergraduates are working on this project: Cagney Coomer, lab technician at the Advanced Genetic Technology and team leader; Tiffany Carol Richard, student researcher; Sandhya Paudel, student researcher; and Mila-Ruth Wright, student researcher.

We believe this opportunity to participate in active learning will support students interest in science as well as build more sophisticated lab skills, Allen said.

Students involved with the Aloe Project will be encouraged to present their findings at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System conference for student research, Kentucky Academy of Science and may have the opportunity to publish their findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

We have to devote the necessary resources to scientific and technological research and development, including biotechnology, Allen said. We must further encourage innovation among our undergraduate students and insure that we introduce new developments into our productive activities.

The project began in November 2012 and will continue through July 2013.