Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Hispanic-Serving Institutions Come to A&M-Kingsville for Grant Workshop, U.S.D.A. Training Seminar

KINGSVILLE - September 19, 2007

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

Natural Toxins Research Center director Dr. John C. Perez presents inspiring funding history of center

KINGSVILLE (September 19, 2007) — Education, inspiration and cooperation are the order of the day at two events taking place at Texas A&M University-Kingsville Sept. 25-27 for members of the Texas Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Consortium.

Texas colleges and universities with at least 25 percent Hispanic full-time enrollment – with at least half of those low income – make up the Texas HSI Consortium, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Its mission is to provide an arena in which institutions can work together, build partnerships, collaborate, establish working relationships and learn best practices.

The two A&M-Kingsville events were born from that mission. The first is a workshop on grant opportunities with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Tuesday, Sept. 25. Recipients of NIH grants will share their success stories with the faculty attendees. Among them is A&M-Kingsville’s Dr. John C. Pérez, director and founder of the Natural Toxins Research Center (NTRC), and Regents professor of biology.

Under Pérez’s direction, the NTRC has secured extensive NIH funding and become one of the world’s leading toxin research centers since being officially established in 2000. It is still the only federally funded viper research center in the country. Pérez and the NTRC have earned a variety of NIH grants, including those from Minority Biomedical Research Support, Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions and the National Center for Research Resources.

“Our relationship with the NIH has been excellent,” said Pérez. When asked what advice he will give attendees to match the NTRC success, Pérez said he’ll recommend, “Get to know your grant administrators. You need to publish. And you need to be committed to the students you serve.”

Dr. Doreen H. Kinkel, professor of animal and wildlife sciences and a local coordinator of the Texas HSI Consortium events, said of the workshop, “Finding the time and opportunity to write a big grant can be daunting. This event is trying to encourage and motivate institutions to work together, collaborate with one another and pollinate new ideas.”

On Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 26-27, there will be a USDA training seminar for invited Texas HSI Consortium faculty and students. Attendees will take field trips to USDA sites and learn about meat grading, poultry care and other aspects of the USDA first-hand.

“A lot of people believe that you have to be involved in agricultural studies to be a part of the USDA,” said Kinkel. “That no more true than saying you have to be a history major to be involved in a museum. The USDA really does a lot, and covers a lot of disciplines.”

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