Grants or Gifts Relating to Women in Higher Education

Here is this week’s news of grants and gifts that may be of particular interest to women in higher education.

Spelman College has received two grants and launched a mini-grant program to fund initiatives that support the college’s efforts to create a more inclusive environment and to educate, prevent, and respond to sexual violence on campus. The first grant totals $589,000 and was awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish an Institute for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. The new institute aims to educate faculty and students on gender and sexuality studies and incorporate those subjects across all disciplines. The second grant totals $297,984 and was awarded by the United States Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women to help combat sexual misconduct on campus by implementing coordinated responses to campus incidents through partnerships with off-campus victim services and local law enforcement agencies. The mini-grant program, All of Us, will be administered by the college’s Title IX & Compliance Office and will provide students, faculty, and staff to present proposals on ways to improve the safety on campus and get funding to carry out their ideas. The college will allocate $25,000 annually to fund the program.

About 15 percent of breast cancers are classified as triple-negative. These cancers do not respond to targeted hormonal therapies, and they tend to be particularly aggressive, often resisting systemic chemotherapy and metastasizing to other tissues. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine  – funded by grants from the National Cancer institute, the American Cancer Society and the McCabe Fund – have identified a protein on tumor cells that directs myeloid-derived immunosuppressor cells to the tumor and metastatic sites, where they promote tumor growth and metastasis. Blocking either this protein or the MDSCs themselves reduced tumor growth and metastasis in experiments on mice. Rumela Chakrabarti, an assistant professor of biomedical science at the University of Pennsylvania, stated that “we’re excited because we think our findings could make a big difference for triple-negative breast cancer patients. Not only can the protein be used as a biomarker to help personalize treatment regimens, but targeting it may also provide an additive treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, in addition to chemotherapy and radiation.” Dr. Chakrabarti earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in India. She holds a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from Kent State University in Ohio.

The University of Texas at El Paso is partnering with Drexel University in Philadelphia on a $900,000 grant project that aims to increase the number of women and members of underrepresented groups who enter STEM programs in environmental sciences. The grant will fund the development of cyber-enabled courses and mentoring programs between students and faculty on the two campuses.


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