Wellesley College Receives $60,000 in Funding for Undergraduate Research

For immediate release:
Feb. 16, 2007

Contact: Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. - One Wellesley College student may help develop new therapeutic methods to treat a childhood neurological disorder. Another may find clues about how adult brains produce new neurons. A third may help discover how algae can actually remove heavy metals from contaminated water.

The Merck Institute for Science Education and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have selected Wellesley College to receive funding under the Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program. The award of $60,000, paid over three years, is intended for joint use by the biology and chemistry departments. It will fund collaborative research projects among Wellesley’s students and faculty members, especially interdisciplinary research that involves both biology and chemistry.

To implement the program, the biology and chemistry departments will review applications to select four students as Merck/AAAS Fellows whose research will be funded over the next three summers. During the ten-week laboratory research sessions, the students will be mentored by biology and chemistry professors who are collaborating on interdisciplinary research.

In a letter to Merck/AAAS, President Diana Chapman Walsh expressed appreciation for the grant. “Enabling our students to undertake cutting edge interdisciplinary research is critical in attracting and retaining outstanding students in the sciences, in ensuring the quality and excitement of laboratory science, and in preparing our students for what they will find in their careers,” she said.

Wellesley’s award is one of up to 15 given annually by Merck/AAAS to qualified institutions in the United States and Puerto Rico that offer an American Chemical Society-approved program in chemistry and that confer 10 or fewer graduate degrees annually in biology and chemistry combined. The program aims to “enhance undergraduate education through research experiences that emphasize the relationship between chemistry and biology” and to “encourage students to pursue graduate education in chemistry and life sciences.”

Wellesley College has been a leader in the education of women for more than 130 years. The College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 65 countries.