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Several ACU faculty members spend summer researching

For immediate release
June 24, 2005

When the students are away, the professors will…research. According to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, 16 faculty members from various departments at Abilene Christian University have received a combined total of more than $66,000 in grants for research purposes.

Autumn Sutherlin, assistant professor of biochemistry, along with research students Alison Tetrick, junior biochemistry major from Redding, Calif., and Jeffery Knight, junior biochemistry major from Tyler, are trying to determine which amino acids are essential to the function of a protein. The research they perform will enable other researchers to design molecules that can work against this protein and may create a potential antibiotic.

"I've been specifically working on this project for a year and a half to two years," said Sutherlin. "Like all projects I don't know if it will ever be done."

Two categories of grants are awarded. The science award is given for those who are researching in the sciences and the Cullen grant is given for those researching in all other categories. Departments receiving grants from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs include the Graduate School of Theology and the departments of political science, education, art and design, marriage and family therapy, accounting and finance, psychology, management sciences, communication, agricultural and environmental sciences, mathematics and computer science, biology, and chemistry.

In addition, many faculty members have decided to work independently on non-funded research within their department. Dr. Vernon Williams, of the Department of History, has studied the World War II experience of American air crews and ground personnel and their British hosts in East Anglia. He is beginning a year-long schedule that includes following up on previous questionnaires with video interviews to preserve "the history of the air war in East Anglia and the surrounding region." Those interested in Dr. Williams' work can learn more by visiting his webpage at,


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