Loyola Marymount University (LMU) was awarded more than $4.3 million in grants and contracts in 2006, according to the university’s Sponsored Projects Office.

A total of 29 awards from a variety of federal, state and foundation sources will support research, academic initiatives and creative activity across different disciplines. LMU has more than doubled its funding in one year, increasing from $1.8 million in 2005 to $4.3 million in 2006.

“The faculty and staff have every reason to be proud of setting a new record for awarded projects at LMU,” said Birute Anne Vileisis, director of LMU’s Sponsored Projects Office. “Our faculty’s externally-funded research projects and creative activities are furthering knowledge, guiding LMU’s students in research, and making a significant contribution to the university, to the neighboring community, and to Los Angeles.”

More than half of the awards go to Loyola Marymount University’s Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering, awarded $2,279,320 in grants and contracts, followed by the School of Education with $887,841.

University-wide initiatives were awarded $698,759. Other awarded schools and colleges include the College of Business Administration ($290,000), the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts ($97,251) and the College of Communications and Fine Arts ($49,035).

Among the most noteworthy awards is a $1,062,010 five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health for Professor Michael Danciger’s research on “Gene Modifiers of Retinal Degeneration” to find genes that influence the severity and/or course of retinal degenerative diseases, LMU officials said.

In the field of business administration, John Wholihan, dean of the College of Business Administration, and Cal Caswell, director, received $290,000 to establish the Small Business Devel- opment Center to advance area businesses by providing consulting services, programs and workshops, including a Spanish pre-business series. Caswell is direc- tor of the center.

Within the field of education, Professor Edmundo Litton’s LMU Intern Program, which is in its fourth year, will provide support to recruit, prepare and guide novice teachers in “teaching for social justice.” This effort to promote the region’s educational infrastructure is possible thanks to a $687,500 continuing grant from California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, LMU officials said.

Gary Rhodes, director of the Center for Global Education, received a $441,659 three-year renewal FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop initiatives that encourage international students to study in the United States and prepare them for life in the U.S. and for their return home.