Researchers at three historically black colleges will conduct studies of the molecules that can influence serious brain diseases, thanks to a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
Faculty from North Carolina Central University will lead a team that will include researchers from Claflin University and North Carolina A&T State University in measuring the use of nanomaterials in the treatment of free radicals, the molecules which can lead to inflammation which can alter or damage cell DNA and lead to illnesses.
“Studies about free-radical mechanics eventually will be able to give insight about how we should approach treating inflammation induced illness and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases,” said John Bang, director of the NCCU Environmental Health program in the Department of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences and principal investigator of the grant.
The research will include HBCU expertise in computer and nanoengineering from Claflin and North Carolina A&T, along with research from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
According to a release, free-radical molecules in the human body are known for their potentially erratic behavior and disruptive effects on cellular structures, reproduction and other vital functions of various organs and tissues. Yet, they also have a positive impact by helping the immune system battle microbial infections and abnormal cell behavior.
“The National Science Foundation has made a significant investment in our university’s research efforts, which are being expanded to complement the excellent teaching environment that the university has long been known for,” said Provost Felicia Nave, Ph.D. “In collaboration with other higher education institutions, this project will bring together experts in nano-science research and related fields, creating a new synergy for discovery.”