$75,000 Grant Awarded to Biology Graduate Student

$75,000 Grant Awarded to Biology Graduate Student

Staff Report

ASU biology graduate student Brennetta J. Crenshaw was awarded a three-year $75,000 grant through the Alabama Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

“This EPSCoR grant will help me excel toward my path to earn my doctorate degree in microbiology,” Crenshaw said. “I was excited to receive it because these grants are extremely competitive.”

Crenshaw, co-principal investigator for the research, was awarded her grant based on her studies of human adenoviruses, also known as the “common cold virus,” the DNA viruses that are associated with a variety of diseases.

“These viruses cause mild to severe illnesses specifically in healthy and immuno-compromised individuals,” she said.

She explained as a result of the common cold virus infection, cells release vesicles. These vesicles are in bodily fluids (i.e, saliva, blood, and breast milk) by all cell types. These vesicles are involved in cell-to-cell communication.

“Extracellular vesicles produced from infected cells will allow us to better understand the natural pathogenesis mechanism of human infectious diseases, which will be essential for public health,” Crenshaw noted.

Crenshaw has already worked on research related to drugs of abuse (nicotine and cocaine) and alcohol in ASU’s Center for NanoBiotechnology Research.

Crenshaw’s research work includes working with cancer and nanoparticles as a RISE scholar in ASU’s Center for Nanobiotechnology and researching the effects of nicotine, cocaine and alcohol when she joined Dr. Qiana L. Matthews’ lab on campus.

“I am really proud of Brennetta for how hard she has worked and the effort she put into this research proposal,” shared Dr. Qiana L. Matthews, co-principal investigator on the project. “She has developed into an excellent scientist.”

Crenshaw will finish her Ph.D program in Microbiology in 2022 and hopes to become an epidemiologist with the Department of Public Health.

“I also would like to pursue a career in scientific grant writing to provide training grants for minority studies that are interested in STEM-related careers,” she added.

The Alabama EPSCoR Program is dedicated to the advancement of economic development via scientific and engineering research through a collaborative effort among Alabama’s research universities.