Fiscal Year 1999 Awards

Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

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

Pamela Padilla Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Animal Developmental Mechanisms 9973557
"Early steps in the development of the metazoan C. elegans"
The goal of this research is to increase understanding of the uniquely metazoan mechanisms of pre-mRNA processing during early stages of development. This is being accomplished by characterizing two temperature sensitive Caenorhabditis elegans mutants that exhibit a mis-localization of trimethylguanosine capped RNAs, embryo lethality, and a defect in chromosome segregation.

Alexander Olvido University of Nebraska-Lincoln Animal Behavior 9904147
"Climatological effects of near-field recognition of mates in the North American field cricket, Gryllus pennsylvanicus"
The research is addressing the proximate factors affecting the evolution of mate choice and other behaviorally complex reproductive systems in insects. The split-family, half-sib design will reveal the nature of male courtship song and epicuticular hydrocarbon profiles that facilitate mate recognition and will also estimate heritability of courtship song and mate choice. This study integrates the roles of development, seasonal effects on epicuticular hydrocarbons, physical contact, and acoustic cues in insects that use acoustic and chemotactile mating cues.

Tanya Berardini University of Pennsylvania Plant Developmental Mechanisms 9904146
"The role of the HASTY Gene in Shoot Maturation"
The regulation of developmental phase change in Arabidopsis is being studied using a genetic mutant, HASTY, which accelerates the transformation from the juvenile to the adult vegetative phase. Using several methods, the transcription and translation patterns of HASTY in various plant tissues will be investigated in order to gain insight into its function.

Gregory Buck Emory University Biochemistry 9904152
"Transcriptional regulation of endonuclease V in E. coli"
In the presence of a common environmental mutagen (nitrous acid) the nfi gene in E. coli turns on the production of the DNA repair enzyme endonuclease V which in turn repairs mistakes in DNA. This work will investigate the regulation of nfi and lay the groundwork for studies on other regulatory pathways for the nfi gene, the control of genes other than nfi belonging to the same regulon, and other regulatory pathways.

Nancy Aguilar University of California, San Diego Evolutionary & Ecological Physiology 9904161
"Physiological and molecular responses of fish to fluctuations in environmental oxygen"
Intertidal fishes experience daily extremes in environmental oxygen tension. Fish living under chronically low oxygen conditions have been rather extensively studied but less well understood are the adaptations to fluctuating oxygen. This project will determine the physiological effects of daily changes in environmental oxygen and whether or not fish thus exposed will express proteins analogous to those produced by mammals during low oxygen exposure.

Carlos Crocker San Francisco State University Evolutionary and Ecological Physiology 9973556
"Physiological adaptations in reptiles and amphibians"
This study encompasses a field study of overwintering behavior and acid-base status of painted turtles, characterization of the lactate transport mechanism and determination of the fate of lactate in desert reptiles, and a study of anoxia and acidosis in the reptile heart using NMR spectroscopy. This combination of field work and biochemical techniques addresses the suite of physiological mechanisms that match metabolic oxygen and energy requirements with environmental oxygen supply and conditions.

Monica Torres Stanford University Animal Developmental Mechanisms 9904163
"Role of growth factor signaling in kidney tubule development in the mouse"

The role of Wnt and FGF are being elucidated in signaling in nephron morphogenesis. Time-lapse microscopy is being performed on cultured mouse embryonic kidney explants overexpressing green fluorescent protein-tagged components of the Wnt and FGF signaling pathways. Modulation of Wnt and FGF signaling will be correlated with alterations in cellular structure and movement.

Olivia Kelly University of California, Berkeley Animal Physiology 9904157
"Analysis of the function of a putative cell death inhibitor, BRUCE, in the mouse intestine"
The aim of the research is to analyze the function of the gene BRUCE in the intestine. BRUCE has several domains that suggest it may inhibit cell death. Since mice lacking BRUCE function have fewer intestinal cells, BRUCE may regulate cell death in the intestine.

Mark Sweezy University of Colorado Cell Biology 9904154
"Mechanisms of chromosome motion in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharamyces pombe"
Accurate and timely segregation of chromosomes during cell division is necessary for cell proliferation and is fundamental to the cell cycle. The specific objectives of this research are to determine the mitotic roles of two microtubule motor proteins, KLp1p and KLp2p, i.e., kinesin-like proteins.

Teaster Baird University of California, San Francisco Biochemistry 9904153
"Chemical control of serine protease zymogen activation"
Zymogens are inactive precursors of enzymes which undergo specific intermolecular proteolytic cleavage and metal chelation to form pre-enzymes and enzymes. Molecular modeling and molecular biological techniques are being used to eluclidate the steps of zymogen formation and activation leading to the important digestive, protein-cleaving enzyme trypsin.

Daniel DeAguiar USDA/ARS/CMAVE Animal Developmental Mechanisms 9904151
"Isolation of sex determination factors from the Caribbean Fruit Fly"
The Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa, is an important economic pest and also an excellent subject for evolutionary studies. Three principal components of the sex determination hierarchy (Sxl, tra, and dsx) are being isolated and characterized in this insect based on what we know about this process in Drosophila.

Vondolee Delgado-Nixon Ohio State University Biophysics 9904149
"A new biological oxygen sensor from E. coli"
A new oxygen-detection protein has been discovered in E. coli. One of its domains contains heme and is related to the oxygen-sensing domains of the rhizobial FixL. Another one of its domains is related to a family of DNA-binding proteins. These experiments are investigating the mechanism of oxygen sensing by this protein.

Ignacio Moore University of Washington Animal Behavior 9904144
"Hormonal and environmental regulation of reproductive function and territoriality in a bird inhabiting a temperate equatorial environment"
This study investigates the control of reproduction and territoriality in an equatorial population of the rufous sparrow, Zonotrichia capensis. Mating pairs exhibit synchronized reproductive cycles while the population displays aseasonal reproduction. The environmental and hormonal cues that the pairs use to synchronize reproduction are being determined.


Minority Graduate Student Travel Award

Robert Bellsey University of Nijmegen, Netherlands Ecology 9909846