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SU receives teaching grant from Empire State Stem Cell Board to develop new undergraduate course

February 09, 2010

Judy Holmes
(315) 443-8085

An interdisciplinary team of faculty from Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical University was one of five higher education groups statewide to receive a grant from the Empire State Stem Cell Board to develop undergraduate curricula in the area of stem cell science and related ethical, legal and societal implications. The courses will target both science majors and non-science majors and will be posted on the New York State Stem Cell Science website,, making the course material available beyond a single campus.

The grant is part of a 10-year New York State initiative to advance stem cell science. Since the beginning of 2008, the state has allocated more than $165 million through the Empire State Stem Cell Board to support promising stem cell scientists in the development of new research, training, collaboration and infrastructure.

John Russell, professor and chair of the Department of Biology in The College of Arts and Sciences, is the principal investigator on the grant. Russell will lead an interdisciplinary steering committee, with faculty from SU and SUNY Upstate, to develop a one-semester, three-credit undergraduate course at SU. The course will include discussions of the ethical, religious, social and legal issues from a broad range of viewpoints; the role of the news media in the public debate of these issues; and how interest groups use the media to build cases for their points of view.

Taught by a team of faculty from across the University, the course will include lectures, assigned readings, case studies and small-group discussions, all designed to help students develop the critical analytical skills needed to address such complex issues.

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