The College of Arts and Sciences Natural Sciences and Mathematics division is pleased to announce that four junior faculty in the departments of biology, chemistry, and environmental studies have each received external grants to support their research and K-12 outreach work in the local community. Collectively, these individual grants total almost $180,000, with an additional $50,000 in matching funds contributed by CAS. This success in funding is a demonstration of the commitment faculty have made to pushing the boundaries of science, while simultaneously engaging with undergraduate and local K-12 students in transformational educational endeavors. The first of these grants is funded by the Society for Developmental Biology and the latter three by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, which has been a generous, key contributor to CAS for many years. All four projects will involve undergraduate students.
Laura Dyer, biology, received an SDB Education Grant, “Engaging elementary school students in developmental biology through brine shrimp lifecycle activities.” This grant will provide approximately $1,500 for dissecting microscopes and lab supplies in support of a developmental biology-related project for the fourth graders of Astor K-8 School.
Rachel Hutcheson, chemistry, received a Natural Sciences Grant, “Spectroscopic, mechanistic, and structural investigations of uncharacterized radical S-adenosyl L-methionine enzymes.” Funding in the amount of $59,650 will support research on Radical S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) enzymes, using an anaerobic chamber (a chamber with no oxygen).
Kristin Sweeney, environmental studies, received a Natural Sciences Grant, “Quantifying feedbacks between topography, rock properties, sediment, and ecology on rocky shore platforms of the Oregon Coast.” This grant will provide $58,777 in research funds to use combined measurements of topography, rock hardness, and biodiversity to quantify the extent to which topography influences ecosystem structure and vice versa. The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration with Tara Prestholdt, biology, and is a great example of how UP’s close campus community can inspire fruitful cross-departmental partnerships.
Susan Murray, biology, received a Natural Sciences Grant, “Effect of SMAC (second mitochondrial activator of caspases) mimetics on human T cell activation and function.” This project is essentially about understanding the signals that determine T cell activation. $60,000 in funds will help drive research on an overall hypothesis that a new class of chemotherapy drugs called SMAC mimetics, which were developed for their ability to kill cancer cells, might have a very different effect on T cells—namely to relieve T cell negative regulation, and thus improve the ability of T cells to attack a patient’s tumor.
For more information contact the College of Arts and Sciences at x7221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.