During the first week of April 2021 — LEoPARD will be holding two fundraising events to support undergraduate student research in biochemistry at Colorado Mesa University, primarily for our Summer Research towards Biochemical Evaluation of Therapeutics (or SuRe-BET) initiative!

Firkin fundraiser at Kannah Creek Brewing Company

On Monday, April 5th, LEoPARD will be the beneficiary of Kannah Creek Brewing Company’s monthly firkin fundraiser. A brew will be selected by the brewer, and proceeds from all sales of that brew will go towards LEoPARD. For anyone that is local to Grand Junction or the broader Mesa County, please come to Kannah Creek Brewing Company — or the sister location, Edgewater Brewery — and have a pint or two of the selected beer to help us raise funds for SuRe-BET.

MAVFunder campaign on Colorado Mesa University’s 96th birthday

On Friday, April 9th, Colorado Mesa University will turn 96 years old and will mark the occasion by celebrating its Annual Day of Giving. A campaign will open on CMU’s MAVFunder page to donate to our SuRe-BET initiative. Unlike the firkin fundraiser at Kannah Creek — where you must be locally present to indulge in the selected brew and help to raise funds — the MAVFunder campaign allows you to donate from anywhere in the world!

Please consider supporting LEoPARD and the SuRe-BET initiative by one or both of these paths.

Why do we need to raise funds?

At present, our metabolic biochemistry and pharmacology research arms are not supported by any external funding agencies (e.g. National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health) nor by internal University funds. Due to COVID-19-related financial hardships, the Faculty Professional Development Funds (FPDF; which we secured last year) were unavailable for the 2020-2021 academic year. Additionally, while we were originally slated to participate in last year’s MAVFunder campaign (i.e. April 2020), this was precluded by the COVID-19 shutdowns and the establishment of the Maverick Relief Fund for students encountering pandemic-related financial hardships. Taken together, 2020 proved to be a very difficult year for our undergraduate research — and we are certainly cognizant than many others suffered financial hardships as well.

LEoPARD is a very aggressive undergraduate research group in biochemistry! Collectively, LEoPARD students invest upwards of fifty (50) student-hours of in-lab research productivity per week — arguably, more than any other research group at CMU. You might glean an idea of our ventures in real-time via our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. Because of our strong and intensive commitment to research, we expend our expensive biochemistry reagents and other consumables fairly rapidly. Additionally, our older laboratory equipment and instruments are starting to fail, requiring maintenance and replacement. On our current trajectory, we do not have the funds to continue offering students the hands-on biochemistry research experiences that are nonetheless vital at student-focused universities like CMU; our students chose to attend CMU for a reason, and it would be a crying shame if we needed to outsource our undergraduate research experiences to larger universities simply because we could not financially support our own students!

What will your donations do for us?

  • Student stipends: It’s one thing for students to have an enlightening and horizon-broadening summer research experience in itself — but ultimately, our students need to also pay for tuition, housing, food, and more! In other words, in addition to needing a summer research experience, our students need a salary-paying job — plain and simple! Even at the Colorado State minimum wage of $12.32/hour, a full ten (10)-week research experience of 40 hours/week would require $4,928.00 of salary support — and that’s only for one single student, at minimum wage!
  • Consumables: Once we have enough money to support a research student’s salary, they need to have materials with which to actually work. Have you recently made a trip to the supermarket for yourself and/or your family member and marveled at how expensive groceries are? If so, just think about how expensive it is to buy high-grade supplies for laboratory work in biochemistry, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and more.
  • Equipment: Can someone learn how to play piano without the piano? Can you teach someone how to sail without the sailboat? Can a carpentry student learn their craft while missing something as simple as a hammer and nails? The same rationale applies to student-centric laboratory research in a primarily-undergraduate environment. We are missing critical laboratory equipment and instrumentation — and that which we do have is beginning to fail and require maintenance; temperature-controlled instruments are beginning to creep above or below their target temperature, software incompatibilities between instruments and their control computers are beginning to manifest, micropipettes are beginning to lose their calibration. We are depending on funds to help expand, maintain, or replace our inventory of laboratory instruments so that students can continue along their productive paths with minimal interruption.

Again, we thank you in advance for any contribution you can make to our endeavours. Please stay tuned to our website and our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) as we approach SuRe-BET week in the first full week of April 2020!


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