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Merger sharpens focus of 2 research centers

Two Mississippi State University research centers are merging this month, pending approval of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

The new Institute for Imaging and Analytical Technologies (I2AT) unifies the resources of the land-grant institution's Electron Microscope Center (EMC) and Institute for Neurocognitive Science and Technology (INST) under the leadership of Giselle Thibaudeau, who has served as EMC director since 2005.

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In her role as I2AT director, Thibaudeau anticipates contributing to the university's research enterprise by leveraging the new institute's combined instrumentation, which represents more than a $5-million investment of competitive grant and MSU funding in technology-based infrastructure.

"Combining this major research instrumentation into one focused organization will enhance support for our student, faculty and staff researchers, as well as facilitate multidisciplinary efforts and move our research-success portfolio to the next level," Thibaudeau said.

The merger will also facilitate instruction in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and be a valuable tool for building collaborative relationships with high-tech industries and science- and technology-centered government agencies, according to Thibaudeau. The merger will also lower costs and streamline operations--yielding direct savings for the university.

"We are pleased that Giselle has accepted the responsibility of I2AT director and have great confidence in her abilities," said David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development at Mississippi State. "We expect I2AT to be a significant resource for researchers on campus, and also for the state and region's economic development efforts."

The next IHL Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for October 20-21 in Jackson.


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