Norwich researchers awarded $300,000 in grants from Vermont Biomedical Research Network

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Vermont Business Magazine Norwich University announced today that six of its professors were awarded research awards from the Vermont Biomedical Research Network (VBRN). The funding supports biomedical research at Norwich University from June of 2023 through May of 2024. The combined value of the VBRN funding for 2023-2024 at Norwich is $300,000.

Included in this year’s list of VBRN awardees are three professors who each received the $25,000 Pilot Award and three professors who received the prestigious $75,000 Project Award to fund their research.

The 2023-2024 VBRN Awardees include:

Dr. Kylie Blodgett – Health and Human Performance – VBRN Pilot award $25,000, “Psychological resilience and health behaviors in college students”

Dr. Sarah Gallant – Chemistry and Biochemistry – VBRN Project Award $75,000, “Development of a Spectrophotometric Method for Detection of Uranium (VI) in Drinking Water”

Dr. Connie Hassett-Walker -- Criminal Justice -- VBRN Project Award $75,000, “What is the impact of COVID-19 on substance abusers’ recovery?”

Dr. Morgan Moeglein – Biology - VBRN Pilot award $25,000, “Disentangling the influences of genome size and chromosome number on growth rate”

Dr. Helene Sisti – Psychology -- VBRN Project Award $75,000, “Interhemispheric Coupling in Learning a Visuomotor Bimanual Coordination Task”

Dr. Emma St. Marie - Chemistry and Biochemistry – VBRN Pilot award $25,000, “Thiolation of radical scavenging peptide MRSP for enhanced antioxidant properties”

VBRN Awards granted to its professors also support 8 students working on campus this summer. The undergraduate researchers in Dr. Gallant's lab include Amrutaa Vibho, Rahisa Mohammed, and Peace Ogadi. Dr. Hassett-Walker will work with Jordan Brimblecombe Walker. Norwich students Rebecca Balcha, Elena Varga, Gabriel Freitas, and Ash Amarnath will work in Dr. Sisti’s lab.

Additionally, Norwich had three students receive funding to participate in VBRN’s summer research and internship programs. The students receiving VBRN’s funding for the Summer of 2023, include Brooke Dembkoski, Hannah Stewart, and Caleb Sarfo working at external locations in Vermont.

Since fall 2021, Norwich has received $113,568 for equipment, $50,000 in startup funds for five new hires, $50,000 for supplies, travel, and other expenses, $45,000 to support undergraduate researchers at Norwich University, and $7,500 to use the core services at UVM.

VBRN’s $75,000 funding for supplies and equipment for 2023-24 includes the following items;

High tech Treadmill for Health and Human Performance, a Blood Chemistry Analyzer for Health and Human Performance, a CyFlow Ploidy Analyzer, and $10,000 in discretionary funds.

Norwich University has participated with VBRN as a baccalaureate partner institution (BPI) since 2001.

Over the past decade, Norwich University has invested more in faculty and undergraduate research of endowed income and reinvested grant overhead to over $800,000 to complement more than $20 million of externally acquired research and institutional grants managed by the Office of Academic Research.

Norwich has received approximately $600,000 to support faculty researchers from VBRN since June 1, 2021. Grant funding through the partnership has increased each year, with Norwich receiving $75,000 for three Pilot awards in 2021, $225,000 for three pilot awards and two project awards in 2022, and $300,000 for three pilot awards and three project awards for 2023.

For Dr. Karen Gaines, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, receiving support from VBRN has been instrumental in moving important biomedical research forward at Norwich University.

“Norwich University has a unique niche in the biomedical research domain that is integrative and experiential, allowing our students to be mentored by the same faculty whom they see in the classroom,” continued Gaines. “The program, through its collaboration and funding, has helped our faculty secure funding in areas such as neuroscience from NIH as well as to expand other research in physical and mental resiliency training for the military. As such, Vermont and the entire Nation benefits from this collaboration.”  

The Vermont Biomedical Research Network, focused on human health and behavior as broadly defined, aims to build a culture to promote biomedical research infrastructure in Vermont. The goal is to build and sustain a statewide culture of research by facilitating the research capacity of faculty members, and the education of undergraduates, at its baccalaureate partner institutions Castleton University, Middlebury College, Northern Vermont University (Lyndon and Johnson campuses), Norwich University, and St. Michael’s College.

To learn more about VBRN, visit their site at 

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

About Vermont Biomedical Research Network

The Vermont Biomedical Research Network, formerly Vermont Genetics Network (VGN), is in its fifth phase of funding with a five-year $19.4 million award from the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence program of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.

Source: 7.27.2023. NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Norwich University