JSU chemistry and biochemistry researcher awarded three grants

Dr. Victor Ogungbe

Dr. Victor Ogungbe

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Dr. Victor Ogungbe has recently been awarded three grants to support his research in the areas of chemical biology, drug discovery and structural biology.

The grants include close to $400,000 from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, for the project, “Solution Structure and Novel Inhibitors of T. brucei Cathepsin L.” The grant will be distributed over three years.

Ogungbe also was awarded a $36,224 National Science Foundation Mississippi ESPCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research/Institutional Development Award) grant for the project, “Cheminformatics and Biomolecular Structure Simulation.” The ESPCoR award complements Ogungbe’s current project on dietary polyphenols, which is supported by the Jackson State University Center for Environmental Health (RCMI).

Ogungbe’s third grant comes from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.  This grant will support his collaboration with partner institutions in West Africa to develop a chemical library at Jackson State University. The chemical library has the potential to serve as a treasure trove for the discovery of new antibiotics and chemical compounds that can serve as templates for new therapeutic drugs.

Ogungbe, who joined the faculty in January 2013, credits JSU’s Academy for Research and Scholarly Engagement for helping him develop his winning proposals.

“The Academy gave me an opportunity to think about my projects, describe them to others who are not in my field, and convey the message for them to understand,” Ogungbe said. “The other important component was that I got to see what the university requires in terms of conducting research, bringing in money to support research and engaging the community.”

Dr. Loretta Moore, interim vice president for Research and Federal Relations, said Ogungbe is doing an exceptional job garnering support for his work.

“Dr. Ogungbe serves as a model of what we’d like to see junior faculty achieve in terms of research and scholarly engagement,” Moore said. “He’s demonstrated how the Academy can help faculty focus on their research while securing funding from different sources to support their work.”

Launched in 2012, the JSU Academy for Research and Scholarly Engagement is an academic-year program that includes a series of workshops, collaboration with academy coaches and scheduled interactions with program officers from funding agencies and foundations. Each faculty participant is paired with an academy coach selected from active researchers at JSU.

Ogungbe participated in Cohort II of the Academy, which concluded in April. Cohort III will start in fall 2014.

The purpose of the Academy for Research and Scholarly Engagement is to advance the careers of promising young researchers and emerging scholars by ensuring that they establish a compelling research agenda, participate in a community of scholars, and obtain external funding.

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