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Funding Update for Apr 2, 2009

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Principal Investigator: Kurt Pickett
Sponsor: University of Vermont & State Agricultural College
Start/End Date: May 1, 2009 – April 30, 2012
Amount: $385,432
Title: Taxonomy, Phylogenetics, Behavior and Proteomics of the Social Wasp Superorganisms (Hymenoptera: Vespidae; Vespinae)

Using proteomic, genetic, and morphological data, researchers will study the "sophisticated social structures" of yellowjacket and hornet colonies, according to the abstract. Investigated will be various aspects of the wasps' sophisticated sociality, including the "amazing 'superorganismic' interdependence of the members of the cologies, in which members function intimately, as a single unit."

See related story here.


Principal Investigator: David Gaul
Sponsor: Southeast TechInventures
Start/End Date: April 1, 2009 – March 31, 2011
Amount: $499,829
Title: Microglassification: Dehydration Process for Protein Preservation

The SBIR Phase ll project is aimed at advancing the discovery of an ambient temperature dehydration method, "microglassification," to more efficiently stabilize biomolecules for preservation.


Principal Investigator: Sunil Saxena
Sponsor: University of Pittsburgh
Start/End Date: April 1, 2009 – March 31, 2010
Amount: $213,800
Title: Protein DNA Specificity Determinants by Paramagnetic Metal Based ESR Distance Measurements

The grant is for research into "the linkage between molecular structure, molecular motions and function in proteins that recognize and associate specific sites on DNA, in order to deduce general principles of site-specific protein-DNA recognition," according to the abstract. Prior studies using EcoRI endonuclease as a model suggests that when a protein binds to its "correct" DNA site, both the protein and DNA suffers losses of conformational-vibrational mobility. These changes are less pronounced when the protein binds at an incorrect DNA site. The researchers will use electron spin resonance spectroscopy to assess structural and dynamic changes between various classes of complexes.


Principal Investigator: Steven Wilhelm
Sponsor: University of Tennessee
Start/End Date: March 1, 2009 – Feb. 29, 2012
Amount: $458,704
Title: What Makes Microcystis Bloom? Dissecting the Physiological Ecology of a Toxic Cyanobacterium with Community Level Proteomics

Researchers will use proteomic and genomic information to collect snapshots of the biochemical pathways that are simultaneously active in toxic cyanobacterium Microcystis cells before, during, and after bloom conditions to try to definitively answer what makes it bloom.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.