Fiscal Year 1997 Awards

Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

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

Manuel Sainz University of California-Berkely Intregrated Plant Biology 9707853
"Identification and characterization of genes required for plant disease resistance"
The signal transduction pathway for plant disease resistance links pathogen recognition to increased expression of defense genes. The goal of this research is to isolate components linking the events of disease resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana resistant to Pseudomonas syringae mediated by the pathogen avrRpt2. The disease resistance response is being characterized in isolated mutants and the novel genes involved are being cloned.

Felipe Soto-Adames University of Connecticut Systematic Biology 9707848
"Molecular markers and patterns of speciation in soil inhabiting microarthropods"
The organisms being studied comprise the Lepidocyrtus-Pseudosinella genera complex (Hexapoda: Collembola) in greater Puerto Rico. Collembola are the most diverse of the primitive, wingless hexapods and important to soil biology. Diversity and patterns of speciation are being determined with the use of molecular tools and geographical distribution to gain insight into the factors contributing to the evolutionary success of this important and under-studied group of organisms.

Cathryn Shaw-Reid Harvard University Metabolic Biochemisty 9707847
"Biosynthesis and resistance mechanisms of the antibiotic bacitracin"
The goal is to elucidate the mechanisms of biosynthesis and resistance using various methods of enzymology. Bacitracin is a non-ribosomal cyclic polypeptide that prevents peptidoglycan formation in bacteria. A focal point of this study is to define the role of 4'-phosphopantetheine (4'-PP) in the peptidyl-carrier protein, bacitracin synthetase.

Cheryl Wilga University of California-Irvine Ecology & Evolutionary Physiology 9707846
"Fluid dynamics and functional morphology of pectoral fins during swimming in benthic and pelagic sharks"
The classical model of shark locomotion is being tested, and pectoral fin function during swimming evaluated in sharks. Comparative ecomorphology of sharks is analyzed using fluid dynamics, kinematics, and motor pattern. The integration of functional morphology, performance (fluid flow), and ecology (realized niche) is necessary to accurately interpret the ecological role and evolution of organismal design.

Raquel-Olguin Jaakkola Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Animal Behavior 9707843
"An experimental technique for testing if dolphin whistles are used as names"
Bottlenose dolphins produce individually distinctive "signature" whistles. Previous research has assumed that these whistles function to broadcast individual identity; but it has not been tested whether signature whistles actually label individuals, that is, serve as referential names. This research develops a technique for testing whether dolphins can identify other individual dolphins on the basis of their signature whistles.

Juan Jorge-Rivera Dartmouth Medical School Neuroendocrinology 9707826
"Functional role of a neurotransmitter system in sex-specific reproductive behaviors"
Differences in neuronal organization and function in the brains of males and females provide the basis for sexually dimorphic behaviors. Benzodiazepine modulation of GABA-mediated currents are being determined in sexually dimorphic regions of the rat brain. The impacts of these currents on sex-specific reproductive behaviors mediated by these brain regions are also being studied.

Sally Pasion Salk Institute Biochemisty 9707831
"Analysis of a conserved DNA replication protein"
The specific objective is to characterize the molecular function and cellular localization of fission yeast Cdc 19 protein. This protein is an essential, conserved eukaryotic DNA replication protein. Interacting gene products will be identified by genetic screens and subsequently characterized to describe the role of Cdc 19 in DNA replication.

Latanya Hammonds-Odie University of Miami Developmental Neuroscience 9707842
"Mammalian protein tyrosine phosphatases in neuronal differentiation"
Enzymes that remove phosphate groups from signaling proteins, protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPases), regulate numerous aspects of cell growth and differentiation. This research examines the role of 2 PTPases, SHP-2 and CRYP-2, in the differentiation of developing nerve cells. Specific functions of these enzymes are being studied using transgenic mice.

Lino Gonzalez, Jr. Yale University Biophysics 9707841
"Crystallization and structure determination of protein complexes integral to membrane fusion"
Membrane trafficking and fusion are essential processes in all eukaryotic cells. The molecular machinery mediating vesicle trafficking and fusion has been highly conserved from yeasts to mammals, demonstrating the universal importance of the process. In nerve terminals, nuerotransmitter-filled synaptic vesicles are docked at the presynaptic membrane where calcium ion uptake triggers vesicle fusion and neurotransmitter release. The complex of proteins mediating the membrane fusion event contains proteins known as SNARE and SNAP and other factors. This research investigates the mechanism of SNARE/SNAP protein-protein interaction by x-ray crystallography. Protein crystals are being obtained using a "minimalist" approach: essential interacting domains are determined, isolated, crystallized, and structurally characterized.


Minority Graduate Student Travel Award

James J. Gelsleicherter Mote Marine Laboratory Animal Physiology 9713162

Gregory M. Colores

University of Idaho

University of California, Santa Cruz

Ecology 9731021


Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Third Year Extensions

Adan Colon-Carmona     9510821

Alice Hempel     9510824

Carla Restrepo     9510829

Dewey Royal     9510832

Pamela Sharpe     9510834