NIU accepts contract with Soviet Union for research

By Michelle D. Isaacson

NIU has approved a contract for a cooperative research program with universities in the Soviet Union.

Marvin Starzyk, chairman of NIU’s biological sciences department, said NIU is waiting to hear the Soviet Union’s reply.

Starzyk said the basis of the contract between Tbilisi State University in Soviet Georgia, USSR, and NIU is to conduct mutual research on the effectiveness of certain chemicals in inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

Arnold Hampel, director of NIU’s Plant Molecular Biology Center, and Starzyk went to the Soviet Union last April in response to invitations from Tbilisi and Azerbaijan State University in Baku, Azerbaijan, USSR. Starzyk said the purpose of the visit was to set up contracts between the universities.

During the visit at Tbilisi, Hampel and Starzyk met with Boris Lomsadze, chairman of Tbilisi’s biophysics department. Starzyk has established a cooperative research project with Lomsadze.

“This connection is a vital link and will generate very positive effects between the two universities involved, leading toward a better understanding between the United States and the Soviet Union,” Starzyk said.

Hampel and Starzyk also met with Neimat Kasumov, dean of biological sciences, and Gabiba Kasumova, chairman of the microbiology department at Azerbaijan to discuss research exchanges.

Starzyk said he is applying for grants to fund the first visit. The sources he is looking into include the National Academy of Sciences, the Fulbright Scholar Program and the National Sciences Foundation.

Starzyk said there could be faculty and student exchanges. He said they might begin on a month-long term and eventually develop into a semester-long program.

The universities also are preparing another agreement to bring one or two Soviet faculty members in molecular biology to NIU for a month in 1990.

Starzyk said because the Soviets study a lot more English than Americans study Russian, communication was not difficult and interpreters were available.