A $23.8 million grant to boost the undergraduate study of biomedical research and health sciences by rural Alaska students will offer new education opportunities at 10 campuses from Kotzebue to Ketchikan. The National Institutes of Health announced the five-year grant, one of 10 programs funded nationwide as a means of fostering interest in biomedical and health careers. The Biomedical Learning and Student Training (BLaST) program is to be led by UAF faculty Barbara Taylor, an associate professor of neurobiology; Karsten Hueffer, an associate professor of veterinary microbiology; and Arleigh Reynolds, associate dean of the Department of Veterinary Medicine. In a letter of support for the grant application, UAS Chancellor John Pugh wrote, “The BUILD BLaST grant support will provide resources for UAS to enhance and provide greater access to relevant science education and biomedical research opportunities for UAS undergraduate students. BLaST’s aim to enhance diversity of the biomedical workforce by engaging rural Alaskan students in science education and biomedical training is an endeavor we whole-heartedly support.” Pugh also said it "gives us the opportunity to transform science education in Alaska."