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Bethune-Cookman University Awarded Research Contract from the U.S. Department of Energy


New Research Contract to Enhance Academic Enterprise by Engaging Students in Research and Innovation

Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) has been awarded a one-year $178,000 contract by the U.S Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM). The contract has an optional 2nd and 3rd year, if exercised. Through this contract B-CU will conduct research in support of the DOE-EM's soil and groundwater remediation program. The research project is led by B-CU biology professors: Dr. Raphael D. Isokpehi, Dr. C. Ainsley Davis and Dr. Baraka Williams Mapp. 

The research conducted at Bethune-Cookman University will develop and implement computational tools for the analysis of complex bacterial gene datasets that aid in the understanding of how toxic environmental chemicals behave in the environment. The research is crucial to our understanding of the impact of toxic chemicals on our water and food supply.

The project, which started in September 2017, will engage B-CU students through research assistantships; internships at Department of Energy National Laboratories; and in-course research projects. Bethune-Cookman students participating in this project will become part of the Transdisciplinary Data Scholars Career Development Program, which was initially developed through grant awards from the National Science Foundation. 

"Through this research activity faculty and student teams will develop innovative transdisciplinary solutions to societal challenges related to food, health, energy and the environment," said Dr. Raphael D. Isokpehi, Professor of Microbiology & Bioinformatics and Principal Investigator of the project at Bethune-Cookman University.

"This Department of Energy award enhances collaborative opportunities at Bethune-Cookman University for new scientific knowledge and new engineering products," states Dr. Herbert Thompson, Professor of Biology and Dean of the B-CU College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics.

The research contract to Bethune-Cookman University is being managed through the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) as part of the U.S Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management's Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP). 

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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