NIH grants employ two summer interns in GR


    Calvin College biology Professor John Ubels was able to hire one undergraduate researcher for the summer with a supplemental National Institutes of Health grant made available through the economic stimulus package.

    At Van Andel Research Institute, researcher John Triezenberg received $9,027 through the same pipeline.

    “People who had an active grant for the NIH could apply for funding for a summer undergraduate student this summer,” Ubels explained.

    The student he hired, a Grand Rapids woman, will be working on a project that is examining the effect of ultraviolet light on the cornea. Ubel’s grant was $8,243.

    VARI spokesman Tim Hawkins said the small grant is dwarfed by the amount the Grand Rapids research center has already received this year for a research project by Steve Triezenberg, director of the Van Andel Education Institute, dean of the VAI Graduate School and head of the VARI Laboratory of Transcriptional Regulation.

    The $1 million NIH grant, which began in 2007 and runs through April, covers Treizenberg’s study of the mechanism used by viral genes in cells infected with the herpes simplex virus. That’s the virus that causes cold sores.

    The smaller grant, announced earlier this month by Michigan’s U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both Democrats, covers the employment of a lab intern from June through October. The intern’s job is to extend the study to the type of herpes virus that causes genital herpes.

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