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A ribbon cutting was held Sept. 10 to mark the opening of two new biomedical science labs in Lappin Hall. From left are KBRIN Representative Dr. Martha Bickford, MSU Biology Professor Dr. Janelle Hare, KBRIN Representative and Professor Emeritus of Psychology Dr. Bruce Mattingly, MSU President Dr. Jay Morgan and Provost Bob Albert.

Students of Morehead State’s biomedical science programs will have more opportunities to conduct research thanks to the renovation of two laboratories in Lappin Hall.

MSU President Dr. Jay Morgan attended the ribbon cutting along with Provost Dr. Robert Albert, representatives from the Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (KBRIN), faculty, staff and students.

The renovation involved converting one large, 50-year-old laboratory on the fourth floor of Lappin Hall into two labs to be used for biomedical research by Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kurt Gibbs and Assistant Professor of Biology Melissa Mefford. Gibbs’ research focus is spinal cord regeneration, and Mefford is researching the evolution of telomeres and telomerase, key components involved in aging and cancer.

Professor of Biology and MSU’s KBRIN Lead Faculty Dr. Janelle Hare said Gibbs and Mefford were involved in the renovation to ensure the labs met their specific research needs.

“I know the faculty and staff who work up here are going to love it,” Hare said. “KBRIN is all about trying to improve the physical infrastructure and providing development opportunities for students and faculty in their professional careers as biomedical researchers.”

Students who work with Gibbs and Mefford said they are pleased with the new labs and are excited to continue their research in the new labs.

“I thought I was in the wrong room, to be honest,” said Paige Oldfield, a junior biomedical science major from Mt. Sterling. “I think it excites other students about research. They’ll walk by in the hall and stop and ask what we’re working on in here, and we tell them, and they say, ‘that’s pretty cool.’”

“It’s very shiny,” said Jessica Fulkerson, a senior biology major from Louisville. “I feel like things are a lot better organized now, which makes it easier to conduct our research.”

A grant from KBRIN funded the renovations. In May 2019, KBRIN was awarded a five-year, multi-million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH; 2P20GM103436-19), which included a $250,000 renovation grant to MSU.

MSU has received over $435,000 in KBRIN infrastructure and equipment grant funds in the past year, and more than $6.4 million since KBRIN launched in 2000. KBRIN has funded more than 200 MSU student researchers in that time.

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