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Biology Professors Awarded Kentucky Research Grant

Brain-EGG test

July 8, 2019— Northern Kentucky University’s Dr. Christine Curran and Dr. Lauren Williamson received an Athey Science Education and Outreach grant from the Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS).

The annual grant is awarded to a Kentucky scientist who is a member of KAS. The grant will assist in expanding NKU’s neuroscience outreach to regional high schools through Neuro-NORSE, Neuroscience Outreach Resources for Secondary Education. 

Dr. Curran joined NKU’s Biological Sciences department in 2008 and currently serves as director of the neuroscience program and professor of biological science. Her laboratory research in developmental neurotoxicology is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. However, she has been active for decades in K-12 science outreach, including serving as the Biology Alliance faculty lead for NKU’s Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics (CINSAM). 

“The goal of our project is to support CINSAM’s P-12 outreach effort in northern Kentucky by developing, testing and working with local high school teachers to introduce neuroscience concepts into their classrooms,” said Dr. Curran. “A key part is developing inexpensive toolkits teachers can use along with lesson plans. CINSAM provided funding to support two teachers who worked on our recent BRAIN high school academy, so we were able to test several activities to ensure they are consistent with best practices in science education and Kentucky science standards. I'm also excited that our new neuroscience faculty member Dr. Lauren Williamson will bring her extensive experience in community outreach to this project.” 

Dr. Williamson is an assistant professor of biological science at NKU. She is a neuroimmunologist who studies ways the brain and the immune system interact. She uses rodent models to research the effects of inflammation on learning and memory, and she is especially interested in the effects of early-life inflammation on brain function in adults.

NKU CINSAM is hosting STEM education through its summer camps and academies. For details, visit the programs’ respective websites.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit