COLUMBIA, Mo. -- National security, mathematics education and individual health are topics of major research projects at the University of Missouri-Columbia. MU federally-funded research and development expenditures increased from $31 million in 1994 to more than $90 million in 2004. This increase of 188 percent is more than any institution in the Association of American Universities, the United States' most prestigious research institutions, public or private.
"These results truly speak to the excellence of our faculty," said Jim Coleman, vice chancellor for research. "Our researchers share a common passion for discovery, a sense that creativity and innovation are the engines of human progress. We have come a long way in 10 years, but we know that we still have a lot of work to do."
Some examples of recent awards and research projects on the MU campus include:
- MU received a $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to revamp science lab activities in order to increase student inquiry and participation and make the subject more interesting, even for non-science majors.
- Tom Thomas, professor of nutritional sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study how changes in lifestyle, specifically exercise and nutrition, relate to cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. He hopes to address the suspicion that regaining weight after weight loss leaves dieters worse than when they started.
- Candace Galen, professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science, and Charlie Nilon, associate professor of urban wildlife management in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, were awarded a $600,000 grant from the NSF to establish the Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology (UMEB) interdisciplinary program. They hope to combat a shortage of minority students training in environmental studies and conservation biology.
- Since 1995, a team of MU researchers has studied the effects of exercise on the cardiovascular system using miniature Yucatan pigs and treadmills. The National Institute of Health originally funded the project in 1994 with a five-year, $6.8 million grant. A renewal in 2000 provided an additional $8 million, and another renewal in 2006 brought $10 million more.
- Douglas Grouws, professor of mathematics education in the College of Education, was awarded $2 million from the NSF to fund a program designed to examine which mathematics curricula are best suited for students and whether curricula affects students' attitudes toward mathematics. This research is part of the effort to stop U.S. high school students from falling further behind their international peers in math.
"Our researchers' commitment to scientific excellence ensures that in the next fiscal year, and for years to come, MU will further advance its place among the world's most vital institutions of higher learning," Coleman said. "There is still much to achieve to continue this research excellence."