MISSOULA – Shelby Cole – a first-year Master of Science student in the Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology graduate program at the University of Montana – recently was awarded a Diversity Research Supplement by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The grant will fund her thesis research project studying innate lymphoid cells for the next two years.
Cole is Malta native and a member of the Gros Ventre and Little Shell tribes of north-central Montana. Her research skills already have been recognized: As an undergraduate student at UM, she received a Diversity Research Supplement grant from the National Institutes of Health to work in the laboratory of Dr. David Shepherd to study targeted drug delivery systems.
This recent funding comes as an administrative supplement to UM Research Faculty Celine Beamer’s three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, through which her team studies innate lymphoid cells – cells that play a pivotal role in balancing immune responses in the lungs. The team’s ultimate goal is to develop drugs that help control immune responses in the lungs – whether limiting chronic inflammation, combating an infectious disease or blocking the detrimental effects of environmental pollutants.
The Diversity Research Supplement will support Cole to work in the laboratory full time, as well as provide her with incidental money to offset the costs of traveling to conferences to present her research to other scientists in the field. The award requires the University to provide mentorship for Cole – which is being provided by Dr. Beamer and UM’s Native American Center of Excellence – and outreach opportunities that will offer Cole the chance to visit schools and share her research with people across Montana, including Native communities.