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Biology professor awarded $1 million

Professor Shannon Hinsa- Leasure works with a student in her lab.


Professor Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, Biology was awarded $999,346 in research grant funding from the USDA to develop technology to quickly identify antibiotic-resistant genes. Her funding, which comes from both the USDA and Iowa State University, began in January 2016.

The technology will be able to analyze thousands of DNA sequences simultaneously in various environments. Currently, Hinsa-Leasure and her research partners are exploring the transfer of resistance genes in manure, soil, sediment and water systems. The project’s final stage will involve workshops to show other experts the technology’s applicability in other contexts such as hospitals.

Professor Shannon Hinsa- Leasure works with a student in her lab.
Professor Shannon Hinsa- Leasure works with a student in her lab.

“It’s all going to be public source data, open to everybody. They can use all the tools that we’re developing,” she said.

Hinsa-Leasure’s work has been taking place with eight students on this project through summer and semester MAPs. Each successive MAP advisee picks up where the predecessor left off. As the grant research continues through the following summer and fall semester, Hinsa-Leasure looks forward to furthering students’ active participation.

“The thing that I’m most excited about for this project is that it brings our students into newer technologies that we’re using here,” she said. “We can read about it and discuss it, but they haven’t been able to do it. So I’m excited for them to get in there and see what it’s like and get our hands dirty with all the data.”

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