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"HBCU-RISE" Center
for Microbial Ecology, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, and Water Quality

Principle Investigator

Henry Neal Williams, Ph.D

The HBCU-RISE Center for Microbial Ecology, Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, and Water Quality at Florida A&M University Environmental Sciences Institute is a project funded under the auspices of a grant from The National Science Foundation Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE) Program.   The objectives of the HBCU-RISE program are to provide high quality research projects under the general theme of Microbial Ecology, Molecular Biology, Biotechnology and Water Quality for training and graduating minority doctoral scientists, particularly African Americans,  graduate students from minorities underrepresented in the sciences who have high-quality research training and preparation to assume professional positions in academia, government or private industry,  to increase graduate infrastructure, support faculty research and promote environmental sciences and biotechnology research. 

The outcome will be a population of students equipped with knowledge, experience, and products, including a record of quality publications, who are well positioned to continue to develop as professional scientists.  The Program supports studies on the interactions of bacteria and viruses with vibrios and the influence of environmental conditions on their ecology.  Both viruses and BALOs are predators and have potential roles in regulating bacterial populations.  The sequencing and comparative genome project led by CO-PI Jonathan Badger will examine genetic influences on the ecological behavior of the BALOs. Moreover, students will gain knowledge and hands-on experience at one of the world’s foremost gene sequencing facilities, the J. Craig Venter Institute/The Institute of Genomic Research (JCVI/TIGR).

The HBCU RISE program was built upon the establishment of a highly productive Molecular Microbial Ecology Laboratory (MME Lab) initiated in 2005 by Principal Investigator Henry Neal Williams, who is one of few experts on the ecology of Bdellovibrio and Like Organisms (BALOs) with support from the 2005 HBCU RISE award to FAMU and the Principal Investigator.  Currently the laboratory is fully operational.   Since its inception, its students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and collaborators have produced a number of presentations at national and international meetings, grant awards, publications in peer-reviewed journals including an article in the highly regarded Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).  This is one of rare publications by an HBCU team to be published in the journal.  We are currently supporting 3 Ph.D. students, two M.S. students, 3 undergraduate students and a postdoctoral fellow.    Molecular microbial ecology is one of the most rapidly growing academic tracks in ESI in student recruitment, grant applications submitted and faculty publications.


Latest News

  • Former HBCU-RISE Participants...Where are they? Cory Blackwell Dr. Cory Blackwell is currently a biology instructor at Lake-Sumter State College near Orlando Florida.  Lake-Sumter is a smaller school that was upgraded from a Community ...
    Posted Oct 28, 2013, 10:59 AM by Evelyn Spradley
  • HBCU-RISE Participants Tamar Dickerson and Nadine Gordon-Bradley Contribute to making history in the School of the Environment at Florida A&M University During the 2013 Spring Graduation Two of the HBCU-RISE participants Tamar Dickerson and Nadine Gordon-Bradley were among those who contributed to the making of history in the School of the Environment when it ...
    Posted Sep 26, 2013, 10:02 AM by Evelyn Spradley
  • Niche Partition of BacteriovoraxOperational Taxonomic Units Along Salinity and Temporal Gradients in the Chesapeake Bay Reveals Distinct Estuarine Strains New Publication: Microbial Ecology: Volume 65, Issue 3 (2013), Page 652-660Abstract The predatory Bacteriovorax are Gram-negative bacteria ubiquitous in saltwater systems that prey upon other Gram-negative ...
    Posted Jun 11, 2013, 9:50 AM by Evelyn Spradley
  • Untitled Post Megan Treadwell Awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the American Society of Microbiology Megan Treadwell, an Environmental Sciences major at FAMU and a graduate of Chiles High School, was awarded ...
    Posted Jan 30, 2013, 10:55 AM by Evelyn Spradley
  • NEW POST DOC JOINS HBCU-RISE CENTER Dr. Nan Li joined the HBCU-RISE staff October 26, 2012 as a post doctoral research associate with expertise in working with marine bacteria including diversity of the proteorhodopsin gene ...
    Posted Dec 28, 2012, 1:20 PM by HUAN CHEN
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