Worthwhile research usually has a dollar sign attached to it. In this instance, that dollar sign was in the amount of $400,000. Keene State College Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Jason Pellettieri recently received a grant in this amount from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his research.

The process of receiving a grant can often be a lengthy and complicated process. Director of the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research Dr. Penny Miceli said the granting agencies which fund research have standing requests for proposals, and that Pellettieri submitted a grant through that typical process. Miceli also helped Pellettieri with the formatting and basics of putting the grant proposal together.

“It’s probably a 50-page application, about 10 pages of science, budget stuff and then information about what you want to do,” Pellettieri said.

According to Miceli, the review process for grants, especially for organizations like NIH, can often take a long time to hear back from. “It’s not uncommon to have to wait more than a year before you get a final answer on whether your proposal was funded or not. That was the case for us this time,” Pellettieri said. Due to this long process, Pellettieri was submitting multiple grant proposals at the same time. Pellettieri also received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Miceli said the size of the grant is larger than what’s typical, and that the amount in grants can vary greatly. “We have everything in between for grants here, all the way down to $500,” Miceli said.

The amount Pellettieri received is significant for the research he is conducting. “What it allows him to do is really engage students in his work. He can have a lot more students working in his lab when he’s got this level of funding. It really works hand in glove with the educational mission along with being good just for research purpose,” Miceli said.

According to Pellettieri, this grant is essential for his lab’s research. “You can do very small-scale projects without grant funding, but to be able to do the kind of cutting edge science that we’re doing, you can’t really do that unless you have the best equipment, which costs a lot of money,” Pellettieri said.

According to their website, New Hampshire IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (NH-INBRE) works to support biomedical research in New Hampshire and is funded by NIH. Program manager of NH-INBRE Lynn Arnold said, “A lot of what we’re doing with INBRE is trying to get researchers started and get research off the ground so they can apply for these big grants.” Arnold also said her position involves keeping track of the budget and where the grant money is being spent.

As for what research the grant is specifically being used for, Arnold said, “He’s working with these flatworms, but finding things that connect to human health that could be very significant to managing and treating human diseases.”

Haley Zanga, a KSC senior biology major who is working alongside Pellettieri said, “Our biggest question we are trying to answer is how regeneration works… The planarians, flatworms we work with, serves as a good animal model to study.”

Rachel Vitello can be contacted at rvitello@kscequinox.com

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