Fiscal Year 1998 Awards

Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

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

Paul Barber University of California-Berkeley Population Biology 9807433
"The effects of currents and larval dispersal period on the genetic structure and evolution of Indonesian stomatopod populations"
Molecular genetic techniques are being used to compare patterns of gene flow and genetic structuring in Indonesian stomatopods with similar/different larval periods, across regions with unidirectional and circular currents. Comparisons will be made in a phylogenetic context to determine the effects of dispersal period, currents, and evolutionary ancestry on the genetic structuring and evolution of stomatopod populations.

Jose de la Torre, III University of California, Berkeley Biotic Surveys & Inventories 9807423
"Microorganisms in carbonate deposits identified with ribosomal RNA gene sequences amplified directly from environmental samples"
Using PCR, microbial 16S ribosomal RNA genes are being amplified from environmental samples from carbonate deposits. Phylogenetic analysis of these rRNA sequences is being used to determine the evolutionary relationships of the principal constituents of these communities with known organisms. Hybridization probes will be developed to determine the morphology, abundance and distribution of selected organisms in situ.

Paula Kover Indiana University Population Biology 9807396
"Can parasites explain the maintenance of sexual recombination?"
Theoretical models suggest that sexual recombination is advantageous because it breaks gene associations fixed by past selection, allowing organisms to adapt to their present environment. This project investigates if parasite selection causes gene associations, whether sexual recombination increases resistance to parasites, and whether different parasites select for similar or different host genotypes. This research can help determine the importance of genetic diversity to coevolution and the development of agricultural and conservation policies.

Phoebe Johnson University of Pennsylvania Intergrated Plant Biology 9807411
"HOOKLESS1 acetyltransferase in plant development: determining function in vivo by identifying interacting proteins, regulatory targets, and localization"
The HOOKLESS1 acetyltransferase is the first such enzyme to be identified in the genetically tractable organism Arabidopsis thaliana. Acetyltransferases have many diverse functions in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, from hormone synthesis and drug detoxification, to transcriptional regulation and chromatin remodeling. Plants lacking HOOKLESS1 show developmental abnormalities, providing an opportunity to determine how an acetyltransferase regulates growth patterns in higher plants.

Luis Santana University of Vermont Animal Physiology 9807400

"Regulation of arterial diameter by subcellular calcium release events"

Local calcium release events ("calcium sparks") through ryanodine receptors in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of vascular smooth muscle indirectly cause arterial dilation by activating calcium- sensitive potassium (Kca) channels. Activation of Kca channels causes hyperpolarization, closing voltage-dependent calcium channels and thereby decreasing global cellular calcium, which causes vasodilation. The goal of this research is to examine how the SR protein phospholamban, by regulating SR calcium, modulates calcium sparks, membrane voltage and diameter of myogenic arteries.

John Garza University of California-Berkeley Animal Behavior 9807397
"Ecological and genetic dissection of social behavior in the mound building mouse"
A breeding colony of Mus spicilegus is being established to make it possible to study the inheritance of behavior in this and related species. Field work is being conducted to study the ecological and social components of the behaviors under study.

Jorge Garces University of Massachusetts Medical School Cell Biology 9807395
"Analysis of cytoplasmic dynein light intermediate chains"
Cytoplasmic dynein is a minus-end directed microtubule motor complex that has been implicated in a wide array of cellular processes including retrograde axonal transport, centripetal organelle transport, chromosome movement and spindle organization during mitosis. This project is a study of the role of the light intermediate chain subunits of cytoplasmic dynein in the regulation and targeting of this motor protein.

Benjamin Ramirez National Institutes of Health Biophysics 9807412
"Determining the structure of modular proteins in solution"
Many of the processes inside the cell are activated by signals outside the cell and are regulated by proteins comprised of modules. The modules differ in their structures and functions. By varying the type, number, and order of modules as well as the property of the linkers that connect them, a diverse set of proteins can be constructed. Determining the structure of modular proteins in solution by NMR spectroscopy remains a challenge. This research uses an approach that may facilitate structural studies of these types of proteins. It provides a direct measurement of bond angles and distances between atoms in a coordinate system that applies to the whole protein, promising to aid in structure determination of the modular protein.

Edgardo T. Farinas Yale University Molecular Biochemistry 9807406
"Proteins designed to order: construction of iron containing proteins with tunable redox potential"
This research involves the de novo design and synthesis of novel iron-binding sites into the protein scaffold of known proteins that are normally devoid of transition metals. This permits study of how reduction potential is modulated in a protein environment. The sites are modeled after the iron-sulfur center of the electron transfer protein rubredoxin.

Susana Vidan Yale University Developmental Biology 9807413
"Analysis of cell polarity using budding yeast as a model system"
Budding yeast undergoes polarized cell growth during budding and mating. The MAP kinase Slt2p plays an important role in both of these processes. The aim of these studies is to identify and characterize targets of Slt2p and to understand the molecular mechanisms controlling cellular morphogenesis in yeast and other eukaryotes.


Minority Graduate Student Travel Award

Angela Ford University of Texas - Medical Branch Galveston Neuronal Mechanisms 9814534

Marian Sewer New York Medical College Valhalla, NY Biochemistry 9812823


Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Third Year Extensions

Marcos Beancourt     9628793

Jonathan Caguiat     9628798

Lucinda Carnell     9628892

Sharon Horton     9628903

Sandra Merino     9628899

Bengamin Ortiz     9628311

Sandra Perez     9628909

Andrew Singson     9628916