Andrew Keating, Director of Communications, 406.657.1104,
Holly Basta, Assistant Professor of Biology, 406.657.1089,

M.J.Murdock Charitable Trust Awards Rocky Mountain College Natural Sciences Grant

BILLINGS, May 11, 2017 — Starting in May, Rocky Mountain College science students as well as faculty will be able to take advantage of needed research opportunities thanks to a $60,000, three-year grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

The grant funding will go toward purchasing supplies and equipment for the, “In Vitro Characterization of a Novel Retroviral Protein and Its Effects on the Innate Immune System” project. In addition, it will also pay summer salaries for a Rocky student and Assistant Professor of Biology, Holly Basta, as they perform the needed research on the project.

“The project actually continues a research avenue I started as an undergraduate, so it’s appropriate that I give Rocky undergraduates an opportunity to participate in this research as well,” Basta said.

And, Basta contends, the research opportunities provided to science students are long-lasting.

“Undergraduate research is considered a very high-impact practice and has been shown to greatly increase student critical thinking,” Basta said. “I think it’s essential to offer undergraduate research opportunities, not only to academically enrich and challenge students, but also to prepare them for a potential career path.”

With two years of acquiring preliminary data and a summer of writing the grant itself, Basta is looking to the future.

“Though the process was arduous, the granting agency provided excellent feedback from experts in the field, making this a particularity helpful grant for an early-career scientist like myself,” she said.