Fiscal Year 1994 Awards

Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Fellow's Name Host Institution Research Area/Training Plan NSF Award #
Title of Research and Training Plan

Ivette Emery Swarthmore College Behavioral Neuroscience 9406862
"Interaction between Drosophila photoreceptor physiology and the expression of the circadian clock protein, PERIOD"
Dr. Emery has developed an in vitro system using the prothoracic gland from Drosophila to study control of circadian behavioral rhythms. This preparation cyclically produces the protein (Per) coded by the period gene and is sensitive to light/dark modulation, making it an ideal system for this in-depth study of the effect of light, the principal entraining environmental cue, on Per oscillation and the role of Per as a major endogenous clock component. The long term goal is to determine the role of Per levels in cellular physiology and behavior.

Juan Salinas McGrill University Neuroscience 9406853
"Interactions among multiple memory systems in the mammalian brain"
There appear to be 3 specialized memory systems in the mammalian brain capable of acquiring different kinds of information in a more-or-less independent manner. The systems seem to interact during the acquisition of a task. The work involves the use of reversible lesions of the structures thought to be involved. This work promises to lead to refinements in understanding the interactions of multiple memory systems.

Sarah England Vanderbilt University Neuroscience 9406860
"Correlation of cloned potassium channels with endogenous cardiac current"
This research concentrates on the role of potassium ion channels in the cardiovascular system. The system has been well characterized through electrophysiological studies and will now be studied using both molecular and cellular biological techniques in complement with voltage-clamp approaches to increase understanding of the potassium ion channel. This research focuses on the processing of voltage-sensitive potassium ion channels in mammalian heart. The primary goal is to examine post- translational modifications and post-transcriptional regulataion of cardiac potassium ion channels that may alter channel expression and function. The second goal is to correlate cloned channel structures with native cardiac myocyte currents.

Maria Moreno Yale University Cellular Biology 9406827
"Molecular genetics of ligule formation"
This research investigates the regulation of cell polarity and its contribution to the architecture and organogenesis of higher plants. A maize mutant named LIGULELESS1 is being characterized at the molecular and cellular levels to determine if formation of ligules and auricles are genetically separable. The timing and site of action of the action of this gene will be determined using immunohistolocalization of the protein Lg1, the gene's product, in developing leaves and by genetic mosaic analysis.

Debbie Laudencia-Chingcuanco University Of California-Davis Developmental Genetics 9406828
"Genetic and developmental analysis of KNOTTED1 loss-of-function alleles"
The research analyzes the first homeobox gene identified in plants. This gene is called knotted 1 locus (kn1) and is thought to be required to maintain the indeterminate fate of primordial cells and its absence may be involved in the signal for the cell to differentiate. It will be determined what is the maize phenotype when kn1 is lacking by studying loss-of-function alleles and mutants, by determining the effects of viability and morphology, and identifying the nature of the mutation.

Mariana Gerschenson Emory University Cellular Biology 9406840
"Transcriptional and translational regulation of the human ADP/ATP translocator isoforms in the heart"
Cells from heart have been chosen as the model system for this study because this tissue has the highest concentration of respiratory proteins. The adenine nucleotide translocator (ANT) controls the supply of ATP by catalyzing the exchange of intramitochondrial ATP for cytoplasmic ADP through the inner mitochondrial membrane. The presence of isoforms of ANT raise interesting questions about their regulation and synthesis. The high energy demands of the heart require stringent regulation of these proteins and make these proteins of special interest. The isoforms will be isolated and their regulation studied at the molecular level.

Michael Romero University of Washington Nueroendocrinology 9406842
"Mechanisms of modulation of the stress response in wild animals"
This research investigates the stress response in the survival and reproduction of animals in their natural environments. Vertebrates respond to noxious stimuli by activating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and releasing glucocorticoids. Excess glucocorticoid production during the breeding season may compromise the animal's ability to reproduce since glucocorticoids inhibit gonadal function. Presumably for this reason, some birds that breed in harsh conditions have evolved a means to modulate glucocorticoid secretion. This research seeks to elucidate this mechanism and to determine if mammals living in similar conditions have a similar mechanism.

Elisabeth Holder Rice University Ecological & Evolutionary Physiology 9406843
"Conflicts of interest in genetic relatedness in social wasps"
The theory investigated will be that workers themselves police the egg laying of other workers, because it is often in the workers' genetic self-interest to allow only the queen to lay eggs. Workers are predicted to limit the reproduction of other workers when they are less related to the progeny of other workers than they are to the progeny of the queen. This hypothesis is tested by looking at worker reproduction in four species of Polistes that differ in average relatedness levels among colony members.The use of the hybrid networks will permit the clear demonstration that activity dependent learning does take place in the visual cortex at the level of a single cell.

Eric Yang University of California, Irvine Developmental Biology 9406846
"Isolation and characterization of the axolot1 MMP-9 mRNA: possible role in limb regeneration"
Limb regeneration in salamanders is relatively well described at the cellular level and provides a useful system for studying several developmental events, such as pattern formation and cell-cell interactions. The molecular mechanisms of regeneration are yet to be elucidated but are needed for a full understanding of regeneration. This project focuses on the dedifferentiation of limb stump tissues which give rise to embryonic-like cells and metalloproteinases (MMPs) are theorized to play a role in the initiation and recruitment steps of regeneration. These proteins will be purified as a first step in studying their expression and role in this process.

Angel Paredes Baylor College of Medicine Cellular Biology 9406849
"High resolution structural analysis of the prototype sindbis virus"
The primary aim of this research is to study the structure of a membrane containing virus using Sindbis virus as the prototype. This will be accomplished through electron cryomicroscopy and three-dimensional reconstruction. Because this virus is enveloped, it affords the opportunity to study its membrane proteins, and their interactions with each other and the core proteins. The ultimate goal of the research is to better understand the biology of the Sindbis virus by improving the resolution of 3D reconstructions of Sindbis virus, detecting structural transitions of Sindbis at different functional states, and comparing the structures of wild-type and mutant viruses to understand the basis of infectivity.

Kim Armstrong University of Illinois, Urbana Neuroscience 9406857
"Effects of REM Sleep on experience-dependent morphological differences in brain structures"
It has been hypothesized that sleep may be important to learning and memory. This research tests the hypothesis that a period of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep deprivation immediately following exposure to a complex environment, produced by elevating ambient temperature, reduces the difference in brain morphology between enriched condition (EC) and impoverished condition (IC) rats; whereas, REM sleep facilitation, produced by optimizing ambient temperature immediately after EC exposure, will increase the morphological differences between EC and IC rats. This research seeks to overcome several limitations of earlier research on the effects of sleep and EC-IC rearing conditions.

Wilfredo Colon Fox Chase Cancer Center Cellular Biology 9406859
"Stopped-flow and pulsed hydrogen exchange studies of cytochrome c mutants designed to probe the role of helix pairing interactions and non-native histidine ligation upon folding"
This research intends to further understand the folding pathway of cytochrome c by studying cytochrome c mutants. The structural and energetic basis for the pairing interaction between the N and C terminal helices will be used in the study because they are know to occur at an early stage in folding.


Minority Graduate Student Travel Award

Ilsa Rovira University of Missouri, Columbia Animal Physiology 9414722

Sophia Stewart Universite' Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris Cell Biology 9414721