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Funding Update: Aug 3, 2010

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NSF Microarray Grants Awarded Jan. 1 — Aug. 1, 2010

Transfected Cell Microarray Technology Based on Microfluidic Electroporation
Start date: Jan. 1, 2010
Expires: April 30, 2011
Awarded amount to date: $126,956
Principal investigator: Chang Lu
Sponsor: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The goal of this project is to develop microfluidics-based transfected cell arrays using electroporation as the transfection method for large-scale gene screening based on both cell lines and primary cells. Electroporation occurs when critical electrical field strength has been achieved and the cell membrane becomes effectively permeable to large biomolecules. The investigators will systematically study the transfection of cell lines and primary cells based on an internally developed microfluidic electroporation technique.


Selective Breeding of a Genome-Scale Metabolic Network
Start date: March 1, 2010
Expires: Feb. 28, 2011
Awarded amount to date: $174,518
Principal investigator: Ichiro Matsumura
Sponsor: Emory University

The investigators in this project aim to understand how networks of cell pathways evolve in response to an organism's changing needs. They have developed a model system that enables a microbial breeding strategy and permits the selection of gene-based metabolic traits that contribute to the production of visible light. The investigators propose to direct the evolution of strains that produce even more light, and to investigate the most hypermorphic strain by genome sequencing, microarray analysis, and biochemical studies of the evolved proteins. Lessons gained from the project could be applied to increase the biosynthetic yields of biofuels, materials, and other economically valuable compounds, according to investigators.


Developing Fluorescent Mini-Microarrays for Undergraduate Instruction
Start date: May 1, 2010
Expires: April 30, 2013
Awarded amount to date: $216,989
Principal investigator: Stokes Baker
Sponsor: University of Detroit

This grants supports low-cost, quantitative laboratory experiments that teach students how to perform investigations using fluorescent microarray technology. The microarrays allow students to conduct inquiry-based investigations exploring plant biodiversity, systematics and evolution. The microarrays and instruction materials are being made available to the larger university biology community.


Acquisition of High Performance Computer and Microarray Scanner for Interdisciplinary Research in Computer Science and Biology at St. Lawrence University
Start date: May 1, 2010
Expires: April 30, 2013
Awarded amount to date: $179,336
Principal investigator: Richard Sharp
Sponsor: Saint Lawrence University

This grant will enable the investigators to acquire a microarray scanner and a high-end computer server to support the research programs of 20 faculty members from the departments of computer science, biology, statistics, and psychology at Saint Lawrence University. Proposed projects include image synthesis, comparative genome analysis in yeast, phylogenetic analysis of microbial communities and comparative analysis of bacterial genomes, microarray analysis of gene expression, and bird foraging studies. Both of these instruments will be the first of their kind on the SLU campus. According to investigators, the microarray scanner is the first in New York State north of Syracuse.


Chemical Approaches to the Investigation of Protein-Lipid Binding
Start Date: June 1, 2010
Expires: May 31, 2011
Awarded amount to date: $192,660
Principal investigator: Michael Best
Sponsor: University of Tennessee, Knoxville

This project involves the design and synthesis of chemical probes that correspond to important signaling lipids. Microarray analysis will be used to detect the details of membrane binding, as well as to investigate variations in lipid activities between normal and disease-associated systems, and to study the roles of these compounds in disease. A probe-based approach will also be developed to achieve selective purification and identification of proteins that interact with a particular lipid from complex cell extracts.


Application of Transcriptomics to Investigate Organism-Environment Relationships in Marine Zooplankton.
Start date: July 15, 2010
Expires: June 30, 2012
Awarded amount to date: $213,960
Principle investigator: Petra Lenz
Sponsor: University of Hawaii

This project will develop transcriptomics approaches to investigate gene regulation as a function of environmental cycles and in response to experimental manipulation in marine zooplankton, with a specific focus on Calanus finmarchicus. Pyrosequencing and microarray technologies will be used to develop a diagnostic tool to determine physiological state in C. finmarchicus with the goal of determining if individuals in the population are growing, are synthesizing, or are catabolizing storage lipids, and are metabolically active and experiencing environmental stress.


Effect of Ocean Acidification on Early Life History Stages of the Antarctic Sea Urchins Sterechinus Neumayeri
Start date: Aug. 1, 2010
Expires: Aug. 1, 2011
Awarded amount to date: $563,446
Principle investigator: Gretchen Hofmann
Sponsor: University of California-Santa Barbara

The researchers aim to examine the effects of ocean acidification on embryos and larvae of the sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri, a contemporary calcifier in the coastal waters of Antarctica. Specifically, the research will assess the effect of CO2-acidified seawater on the development of early embryos and larvae. Using a microarray, they plan to profile changes in gene expression for genes involved in biomineralization and other important physiological processes, and measure costs and physiological consequences of development under conditions of ocean acidification.

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