August 26, 2020

Biology professor lands bioinformatics grant

Biology professor lands bioinformatics grant

Francis Marion University Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Jeremy Rentsch was recently named recipient of a grant from South Carolina IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence’s Bioinformatics Pilot Program (SC INBRE-BIPP), funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The $10,000 grant provides initial funding for a bioinformatic research program focusing on human health implications, and for bioinformatics training for faculty and undergraduate researchers. Bioinformatics is a relatively new field that develops methods and software tools that enhance the understanding of biological data, particularly large and complex data sets. 

Rentsch’s research centers on the stresses placed on agricultural plants due to increased global soil salinity. His study will investigate the resiliency of Arabidopsis thaliana, a small, flowering, herbaceous plant widely used in biological research, in both controlled and high saline conditions.

Two FMU students, junior Biology majors Landon Hardee and Demetric McCall, will be assisting Rentsch in the study. 

Rentsch is also hoping to use the grant as an opportunity to incorporate the growing and phenotyping of Arabidopsis plants into other classes at FMU.

SC INBRE is a statewide, multi-million dollar, five-year renewable grant program funded by The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to support biomedical research and infrastructure in South Carolina. SC INBRE’s network includes 13 member and four outreach institutions of higher learning. SC INBRE offers biomedical research faculty and students career development, mentorship, and funding.

The SC INBRE BIPP program is designed to stimulate the application of genomics and bioinformatics methods by supporting research and student training through the SC INBRE and South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research (SCTR) networks.

The program supports independent, faculty-driven research and provides research training to students and postdoctoral fellows in bioinformatics.