RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has landed a multi-million dollar award to establish “cutting-edge” research in biotechnology and materials science from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The historically Black university, together with Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine, said it plans to use the funding to develop technology for detection and monitoring of “chemical and biological threat agents.”

In total, DoD established 11 Centers of Excellence at Historically Black Colleges and Universities to provide training to underrepresented students, with awards totaling $15 million.

Each of these COEs is funded at $1 million per year for five years and is expected to contribute to research of “strategic importance” to DoD.

“The Department continues to forge partnerships with academia to stimulate research and innovation leading to the development of critical technologies required to meet our warfighter needs” said Jagadeesh Pamulapati, Ph.D., acting deputy director for research, technology, and laboratories in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

“Biotechnology and materials science remains a priority across the Department to achieve new operational capabilities ranging from strengthening chemical biological defense systems to impacting warfighter performance.”

NCA&T’s research will focus on developing technology to monitor chemical and biological threat agents using an integrated micro-engineered organ equivalent system.

“The proposed system will be used to characterize the effect of various pharmacological and toxicological agents, including threat agents relevant to national defense,” the university said in a news release.

NCA&T is the nation’s largest historically Black university with an enrollment of nearly 13,000 full- and part-time students. It is the nation’s top producer of Black engineering graduates with bachelor’s degrees.

(C) N.C. Biotech Center