ASBMB wins two NSF grants to support teachers and students

New awards expand and bolster the society’s leadership
in BMB education and professional development

National Science Foundation logo
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has won two new National Science Foundation awards to support emerging and ongoing education and professional-development initiatives.

New funding

One initiative that won NSF funding, titled “Creating a Community of Scientists: Supporting PUI Faculty and Undergraduates at the ASBMB National Meetings,” is part of a more than five-year effort by the society’s Education and Professional Development Committee and Undergraduate Affiliate Network to highlight research conducted at primarily undergraduate institutions.
Each year, students and faculty members from primarily undergraduate institutions are invited to present their work during platform sessions at the ASBMB annual meeting. This year, we expanded our focus to include faculty members and students from minority-serving institutions and community colleges. Additionally, funding was designated to promote greater student engagement and networking at the meeting.
A formal evaluation of this year’s efforts will be conducted in the coming months. If you attended the annual meeting in April, please help us in our evaluation by completing the online survey that will be emailed to annual meeting attendees.
The second NSF award supported the “ASBMB Mentoring Program for Early-Career Scientists” project, a grant-writing and mentoring workshop for postdoctoral fellows and assistant professors held in June in Washington, D.C. The project was spearheaded by the ASBMB Minority Affairs Committee under the leadership of Takita Felder-Sumter of Winthrop University; Marion Sewer of the University of California, San Diego; Squire Booker of The Pennsylvania State University; Sonia Flores of the University of Colorado Denver; and David Wilson of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.
A precursor workshop in 2013 elicited more than 75 participant nominations, from which 32 were selected to attend. This year, we received 48 nominations, many from leading research institutions, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University.
This overwhelming response from the ASBMB community demonstrates that there is a clear need for well-planned and -executed professional-development programs emphasizing grant writing and mentoring for young scientists and that the society is responding to the needs of its members. Learn more at

Existing funding

In addition to the grant-funded efforts noted above, the society won in 2009 a five-year NSF Research Coordination Network Undergraduate Biology Education grant. The RCN-UBE award has funded more than 30 teacher-focused workshops around the country, six in the first half of 2014 alone, which have brought together hundreds of undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology educators.
As a result of this project, a set of undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology foundational concepts and skills was developed and published in the journal Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, commonly referred to by its acronym, BAMBED. Find out more about the effort at
Student in HOPES program
A student at Hernandez Elementary School participates in a HOPES seed grant project organized by faculty at the school and at Texas State University.
Finally, another ongoing NSF-funded ASBMB initiative is the HOPES program, which is short for Hands-on Opportunities to Promote Engagement in Sciences and is led by Regina Stevens-Truss of Kalamazoo College and Peter Kennelly of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Since 2012, the society has awarded up to 10 seed grants worth $2,000 apiece annually to support faculty and teacher collaborations aimed at bringing real-world, hands-on science into K – 12 classrooms. Find out more about the HOPES grants at
Along with the programs highlighted above, the society also launched in 2013 the BMB Accreditation Program. Fourteen schools already have received ASBMB accreditation. More information can be found at
The continued success of these initiatives is dependent on smart, enthusiastic and dedicated ASBMB committee and staff members. We hope to keep up our funding momentum as the ASBMB firmly positions itself in a leadership role in life-sciences education in the 21st century.
Weiyi ZhaoWeiyi Zhao ( is the ASBMB manager of education and professional development.