FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Fairmont State University’s Department of Natural Sciences received a $50,000 grant from the West Virginia Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, with a $15,000 match from the university for help to purchase a genetic analyzer.

The genetic analyzer helps to identify unknown DNA samples by comparing them to known people. It will also allow students to do DNA sequencing – a technique that can be applied across multiple branches of science.

Professor of Forensic Science, Dr. Mark Flood told 12 News the new analyzer will help students dive deeper into research with real-world equipment that will better prepare them for the future.

“We are able to do genetic analysis of individuals like they do in the forensics lab down in Charleston. So, we have those capabilities now which we never had before and I think it’s a great experience for our students and hopefully the people that are going to hire them are going to be interested in seeing that they have those skills.” said Flood.

With students conducting research and presentations at statewide, regional, and national scientific meetings — Flood said the genetic analyzer will allow faculty to focus on the science behind DNA analysis instead of simply discussing the application of the technology.