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NSF Awards $999,702 to B-CU and FAMU for Research


DAYTONA BEACH, FL- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) a 3-year grant of $999,702 for research to improve coastal water quality. The researchers at both universities will investigate oyster-associated bacteria, which have the potential to remove nitrogen (N) from estuarine waters. Excessive nitrogen can act as a fertilizer and exacerbate undesirable harmful algal blooms (HABs) in coastal waters.

The collaborative project will also enhance research and training activities at the two Florida Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and further the education and training of students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The complex and high-throughput data to be collected from the project will provide students with experiences in molecular biological techniques and advanced data analytics using bioinformatics. 

At FAMU, the project is led by Ashvini Chauhan, Charles Jagoe and Ashish Pathak, School of the Environment. At B-CU, the project is led by Raphael Isokpehi and Yungkul Kim, College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics.  

“The School of the Environment at Florida A&M University is uniquely positioned for this timely collaborative research project, which will build on decades of research on the Gulf Coast region by our students and faculty,” said Dr. Victor Ibeanusi, Dean of the School of the Environment at FAMU.

"The College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Bethune-Cookman University remains committed to addressing real world problems by encouraging faculty to develop relevant research projects, which provide opportunities for students to gain valuable experience while contributing to the quality of life on the planet. Drs. Isokpehi, Kim, and our colleagues at FAMU are to be congratulated for their efforts in obtaining NSF funding and for the many benefits which will result from this project," said Dr. Herbert Thompson, Dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics.

The award is for three years from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2022 and funded through the National Science Foundation’s HBCU Excellence in Research (EiR) and the Integrative Ecological Physiology Program.

For more information, contact: Dr. Ashvini Chauhan ( and Dr. Raphael Isokpehi (

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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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