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Roberts Wesleyan selected for national program

David Roll, professor of biological chemistry and director of Forensic Science at Roberts Wesleyan College, has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy for a research program. Photo courtesy Roberts Wesleyan College

The U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute has chosen David Roll, professor of biological chemistry and director of Forensic Science at Roberts Wesleyan College, as one of 18 collaborators nationwide to join its Undergraduate Research Program in Microbial Genome Annotation, the college has announced.

Other participants include the University of Buffalo, Johns Hopkins University, UCLA, St. John’s University, the University of Nebraska and Michigan State University.

This initiative — which brings together the JGI, undergraduate educators and their students — is a response to the call to reform undergraduate life sciences education through experience with research, according to the Department of Energy.

Roll, a resident of Caledonia, attended an informational workshop at the end of January at the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, Calif. Since then, he has been preparing plans and programs that will allow Roberts students to participate in this initiative in a hands-on manner. The college already has been assigned a specific genome for its research: Hydrogenbacter thermophilus DSM 6534.

In addition to other ad hoc opportunities for Roberts students to conduct research, Roll said he is looking into the college hosting a week-long summer program for area high schools students, in which they can analyze genes in the organism that has been assigned to Roberts.