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NIH Awards Hunter $1.3 Million Grant For Pioneering Project in Quantitative Biology

Hunter received a five-year $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a quantitative biology curriculum, an innovative program that will prepare students in biology, chemistry, computer science, and mathematics and statistics to master the advances taking place in 21st-century biomedical science.   Hunter is one of only nine institutions in the country to receive this grant.

Titled “Curricular and Pedagogical Innovations in Quantitative Biology,” the project, launched in July of 2008 and running through June 2014, will transform the College’s existing science curriculum by introducing innovative teaching methods, bioinformatics concentrations, and focused work in quantitative reasoning and analysis.

Weigang Qiu, assistant professor of biology, is the principal investigator of the project.  Adrienne Alaie, assistant professor of biology, and Virginia Teller, professor of computer science and chair of the Computer Science Department, are co-P.I.s.  Other leading faculty members from biology, chemistry, computer science and mathematics & statistics are part of the team.

Among the benefits that students in the program will enjoy are small classes, individual mentoring, the opportunity to participate in research conducted at Hunter and nationally, and topnotch preparation for graduate studies and cutting edge scientific/analytical careers.  Scholarships will be available for qualified students.

The components of the project include:


concentrations in bioinformatics for students majoring in biology, chemistry, computer science, or mathematics and statistics


transformation of the curriculum in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and statistics so that students graduate with knowledge and understanding of the fundamental concepts of bioinformatics and the critical role that bioinformatics plays in biomedical science today


faculty development initiatives such as the inroduction of innovative pedagogy and bioinformatics content in 27 courses

The students directly involved in the quantitative biology project are not the only ones to benefit from the program, notes principal investigator Qiu.  Some 6,500 students a year—all students taking courses in the disciplines related to the project—will benefit from the curricular improvements from the new computational and quantitative biology content that has been integrated into these courses.

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