TYLER/SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - The University of Texas at Tyler has been awarded more than $250,000 from the National Science Foundation for state-of-the-art botany research equipment, Dr. Michael Odell, associate vice president for sponsored research and director of federal relations, announced.
With the award, the UT Tyler Department of Biology will acquire a set of walk-in, controlled-environment chambers for plant experimentation. They are equipped with temperature, humidity, photoperiod, lighting and carbon dioxide controls. More than 13,000 plants may fit into these chambers, allowing for yearlong experiments.
"We will now have ample room to do whatever experiments we want, without worrying about the season or the weather and without driving anywhere," said Dr. Joshua Banta, UT Tyler assistant professor of biology and primary investigator for the grant. "With these chambers, UT Tyler will have the best facilities for controlled plant experimentation in the whole Northeast Texas region, in fact, better than most facilities at universities in the Dallas area or Shreveport."
The primary users for these chambers work with agriculturally important plants or their relatives, and their work has either direct or indirect implications for agriculture, Banta added.
UT Tyler undergraduates and graduate students also will be allocated space in the chambers to work on these and other projects, providing invaluable training opportunities for future scientists, farmers and land managers.
"These chambers will have a stimulating effect on plant biology research throughout Northeast Texas. The research enabled by these chambers will span cellular biology, molecular biology, developmental biology, physiology, ecology, evolution and genetics," he said.
The chambers will be built during the next few months and active by January 2013.
Co-investigators were Dr. Blake Bextine and Dr. Susan Gomez.
University plant experts receive more than $300,000 in research funding for the university annually.
For more information about the UT Tyler biology department, call 903.566.7402 or visit http://www.uttyler.edu/academics/undergraduate-majors/biology-degree.php.
One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.