Fiscal Year 2002 Awards
Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships
Paul D. Adams Cornell University Biophysics 0208064
Structural studies on Cdc42Hs mutant proteins that may initiate cellular transformation
NMR spectroscopy is being used to characterize mutant forms of Cdc42Hs, an intracellular signal transduction protein cloned in E. coli. This protein binds GTP or GDP and acts as a molecular timing switch based on the nature of the bound ligand. The research will determine the structure and dynamics of two Cdc42Hs mutants to understand the role of Cdc42Hs in processes that lead to cell transformation.
Youhna M. Ayala ICGEB Biophysics 0208077
Understanding how the TAR binding protein (TDP43) regulates alternative splicing of messenger RNA
Alternative splicing during mRNA processing greatly contributes to generate the protein diversity necessary for development and function of complex organisms. TDP43 regulates exon inclusion of the CFTR gene presumably through inteaction with nuclear proteins and specific sequences of nucleic acid. This research investigates the molecular determinants and importance of TDP43 protein complex formation and nucleic acid binding.
Lesley Blancas University of California-Irvine Population Biology 0208503
Natural hybridization and its consequences on the organization of genetic variation and population genetics of a crop and its wild relative
Hybridization between 2 genetically distinct natural populations can result in new genetic combinations through the reassortment of genes and multilocus genotypes. This study examines the evolutionary consequences of hybridization in co-occurring populations of maize (corn) and its wild relative teosinte by comparing genetic markers across the genome and among hybridizing and non-hybridizing populations.
Maria R. Dino Yale University Neurobiology 0207991
Role of Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans in Synapse Formation
The project examines the role of two chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) in synaptogenesis: one unnamed CSPG, recognized by monoclonal antibody Cat-315, which delineates synaptic sites, and aggrecan, the main CSPG of cartilage. The unnamed CSPG is being identified using immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry. Once identified, its function will be blocked to determine if it is essential to synapse formation. To determine if aggrecan is involved in synaptogenesis, the expression of synpatic markers is being studied in cultured cortices from embryonic CMD mice, a naturally occurring aggrecan knockout mouse.
Suzanne R. Estes Oregon StateUniversity Animal Behavior 0208328
Influence of mating system on patterns of parentage and fitness correlates in a garter snake model, Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis
This research explores the role of kin recognition in the mating system by asking whether parental relatedness influences paternal contribution and, in turn, maternal fitness in natural populations of the red-sided garter snake. This constitutes the first test for the presence of kin recognition and first rigorous study of inbreeding depression in any snake species.
Kenneth M. Fedorka University of California-Riverside Animal Behavior 0208420
Within a mating system, males and females often have divergent reproductive strategies, creating an antagonistic coevolutionary relationship between the sexes. The objective of this research is to investigate the covariance between sexual conflict intensity and the expression of sexually selected traits, life history traits and the rate of protein divergence in closely related Drosophila species.
Rhea R. Kimpo Stanford University Animal Behavior 0208400
The role of the cerebellum in learning the proper timing and amplitude of skilled motor movements
The specific role of the cerebellum in learning motor movements is unclear. This research examines motor learning in the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR), or VOR adaptation, of normal mice and PKCg mutant mice, which have abnormal input to cerebellar Purkinje cells. It compares VOR adaptation, patterns of Purkinje cell activity during learning, and those sufficient for learning, in these mice.
Marta L. Oliva Binghamton University Sensor Physiology 0208238
Control of a feeding neural circuit in an inscet by taste sensory input and hunger status
Manduca sexta larvae become host-specific when they feed on solanaceous plants due to changes in taste receptor responses to a host-specific recognition cue. Host-specific larvae often starve to death if given food lacking this cue. Electrophysiological studies are being conducted to examine the integration of taste receptor physiology and hunger on the feeding circuitry of host-specific and non-specific larvae.
Maria Elena Pereyra University of California-Davis Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology 0208056
Influence of Nutritional Cues on Reproduction in Nomadic Songbirds
The objectives of this project are to investigate the influence of nutritional cues on the neuroendocrine regulation of reproductive development in two closely related nomadic songbirds (pine siskin and lesser goldfinch) that depend heavily upon foods that vary widely in availability between years and across broad geographic ranges.
Christopher L. Reyes The Scripps Research Institution Biophysics 0208326
Electron microscopy study of the structure of ATP Binding Cassette transporter protein MsbA
ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) transporter proteins couple ATP hydrolysis with translocation of various substrate molecules across biological membranes. This study is investigating the model that posits that large conformational changes in the transporter protein allows the substrate to move across the membrane. Electron microscopy and helical image analysis are being used to determine the structure and mechanism of the MsbA transporter.
Daphne Soares University of Maryland Neurobiology 0208257
Transformation of neural signals across single neurons
This project addresses the physiological and biophysical mechanisms of individual neurons that underlie phase-coding in barn owls, specifically how they encode time. First, it will focus on verifying the presence of a subthreshold presynaptic code in postsynaptic cells. Second, morphological and physiological characteristics of the synapse will be determined.
Christoper E. Tripler University of Louisville Ecology 0208392
Comparing urban and rural forests: using city environments to model long-term changes in forests under predicted changes in global climates
Forests are predicted to change their distributions in response to global changes in atmospheric nitrogen deposition, carbon dioxide, and temperature. Urban forests have experienced these conditions for decades and represent unique systems to look for novel changes in the dynamics of forests under predicted global change scenarios.