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Last spring, Florida A&M University (FAMU) announced that School of the Environment Professor Henry Neal Williams was awarded a $929,241 National Science Foundation (NSF) Excellence in Research grant. Williams’ research investigates microorganisms and the effects they have on populations of other bacteria.

According to FAMU Forward, the grant was funded by the NSF Division of Education and Human Resources HBCU-UP (Undergraduate Program) and managed by the Division of Ocean Sciences Biological Oceanography Program. The award will fund FAMU’s partnership with the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University, and Virginia Union University, which like FAMU is a historically Black college and university (HBCU).

“The grant will support graduate and undergraduate students and a postdoctoral associate who will contribute immensely to the research, but also to the training of students and in teaching,” Williams told FAMU. “Knowing that I have funding now for the next three years, and a great team to work with is both a relief and super exciting,” he said. “Undergraduate and graduate students will be mentored and trained on cutting-edge interdisciplinary research at FAMU, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, and at the Kranz and Stukel laboratories at FSU.”

Williams is a 2019 FAMU Distinguished Researcher and an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. During his tenure at the FAMU School of the Environment, he has secured millions in research grants.

Victor Ibeanusi, Ph.D., dean of the FAMU School of the Environment, said the goal of the School of the Environment is to lead the nation as the top producer of minority students with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Environmental Science.

“Microbial systems are in the forefront of environmental restoration,” he said. “This award supports our legacy of excellence of advancing cutting edge research in areas of the microbial ecosystem and biotechnology addressing the roles of microbial ecosystems in promoting environmental restoration and processes that ensure sustainable functioning of the environment.”

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