June 27, 2019


students presenting their research


MSU Billings to receive $450K for undergraduate research

 NIH grant to help fund undergraduate research related to human health


University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS—Montana State University Billings will receive a $450,000 grant through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over the course of five years via the Montana IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program.

The monies allocated to MSU Billings total $90,000 per year and come out of the grant presented to the Montana INBRE program to grow the state’s biomedical research capacity and train new scientists in fields related to human health. MSU Billings was written into the grant to help fund undergraduate research projects in biomedical and public health areas and clinical internships for medical laboratory sciences (MLS) students.

Kurt Toenjes, Ph.D., serves as the principal investigator for MSU Billings and a mentor for students conducting undergraduate research projects. Part of the grant presented to Toenjes will pay for MLS program student stipends as well as undergraduate research internships.

“This is the largest grant we have received from MT-INBRE, thus far, that directly supports undergraduate research and clinical internships at MSUB,” shares Toenjes. “The grant is really about enhancing undergraduate science education for MSUB students and getting students the high-impact research and clinical experiences they need to be successful going forward. The funds will support up to seven undergraduate research projects and up to three clinical interns per year over the next five years.”

David Butler, professor of molecular biology and genetics, and Matt Queen, professor of analytical chemistry, will also be involved in assisting students for the upcoming school year.

A separate grant to Dr. Matt Queen will also provide funding for Queen to complete some of his ongoing work. Queen, his students and a lab technician will utilize the funds to develop technologies to clean up waters polluted by carbon tetrachloride, a known carcinogen with historical use as a solvent, fire extinguisher and grain fumigant.

There will be additional opportunities for more funding for other MSUB faculty over the next five years.

Housed at Montana State University, Montana INBRE is a network of Montana universities, community colleges and tribal colleges that invests in biomedical research capacity and workforce development throughout the state. Originally called BRIN, Montana INBRE was first funded in 2001. This grant renewal brings the NIH’s total commitment in Montana INBRE to more than $75 million.

Montana INBRE is part of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences division of the NIH under grant number P20GM103474.

For more information, contact Acting Dean of the College of Allied Health Professionals Kurt Toenjes at 406-896-5841 or ktoenjes@msubillings.edu.