HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 7, 2011 – Dr. Niky Hughes, assistant professor of biology at High Point University, has received a highly competitive National Science Foundation Research Undergraduate Institution grant totaling $208,000. The grant will fund Hughes and her HPU research students to conduct summer research in Colorado and the North Carolina mountains over the next three years.
As part of her research, Hughes will examine the effects of cloud immersion, sunlight and temperature on the physiology and productivity of high altitude conifer species, in order to model tree-line migration and seedling survivorship in the context of global climate change. Hughes will serve as a co-principal investigator with Dr. William K. Smith, of Wake Forest University. Smith is one of the world’s foremost authorities on conifer physiology and ecology.
The grant itself will bring a total of more than half a million dollars to the schools combined, and will also supply more than $30,000 in ecophysiological field equipment for Hughes’ lab, as well as allow her to hire a recent HPU graduate – Kaylyn Carpenter – to work as a lab technician during the school year.
Hughes says for undergraduate students at HPU, the grant will mean more summer research opportunities for field-oriented biology majors, hands-on experience using a broad range of ecophysiological equipment and ecological field methods, collaboration with a high profile research laboratory, involvement in climate change research, and increased opportunities for networking and presenting at professional conferences.
As a young researcher in a time of historically low funds and unprecedented competition, this is an extraordinary accomplishment for HPU and Hughes, who was recently named runner-up to the Tansley medal – an international award recognizing outstanding young botanists in the early stages of their career.
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people.℠ HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with over 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students from 51 countries and 46 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report at No. 3 among Regional Colleges in the South. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 7 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” Parade Magazine lists HPU in the top 25 private schools in the nation. The university offers 50 undergraduate majors, 43 undergraduate minors and 14 graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at highpoint.edu.
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