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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

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.