Recent Grants & Awards in Life Sciences

  • Greg Lnenicka (UA Department of Biology) and collaborators have received grant support from the National Science Foundation on “Synaptic homeostasis” and the National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with Drs. Ruden and Hirsch, on “QTL and Microarray Mapping Lead Sensitivity Genes”. Dr. Lnenicka’s recent research can be accessed in the papers (by He and Lnenicka: 2011) “Ca2+ buffering at a Drosophila larval synaptic terminal´  Synapse 65:687-693; and (by Desai and Lnenicka:(2011) “Characterization of postsynaptic Ca2+ signals at the Drosophila larval NMJ” . J. Neurophysiol. 106(2):710-721.
  • Cheryl Frye (UA Department of Psychology) has been recently appointed to the Editorial Board of Frontiers of Experimental Endocrinology and has received National Institutes of Health support for her investigations of “Progestins’ non-classical effects and mechanisms for social & mood processes ” . Research from the Frye Lab has been published in 2011 (by Frye:2011) “Novel substrates for, and sources of, progestogens for reproduction. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. In press; (by Paris, et al:2011) “Inhibition of 5α-reductase activity in late pregnancy decreases gestational length and fecundity and impairs object memory and central progestogen milieu of juvenile rat offspring”. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 1365-2826; (by Koonce, et al:2011) “ Type 1 5α-reductase may be required for estrous cycle changes in affective behaviors of female mice”. Behavioural Brain Research, 5; (by Walf, et al:2011) “ I. Levels of 5α-reduced progesterone metabolite in the midbrain account for variability in reproductive behavior of middle-aged female rats. Brain Research 1379:137-48”; and (by Paris, et al:2011) “ II. Cognitive performance of middle-aged female rats is influenced by capacity to metabolize progesterone in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus  Brain Research; 1379:149-63.
  • Marlene Belfort (UA Department of Biology) is PI on a National Institutes of Health MERIT award titled: “Intron Dynamics in Bacteria”.  This work supports elucidation of intron splicing and mobility pathways and covers the disciplines of genetic recombination, RNA catalysis and intron movement.  Dr. Belfort’s recent work can be accessed in the papers (by Callahan, et al: 2011) “Structure of catalytically competent intein caught in a redox trap with functional and evolutionary implications. Nature Structural Mol. Biol. 18, 630-633; and (by Robbins, et al,:2011) :Redox-responsive zinc-finger is fidelity switch in homing endonuclease, promoting intron promiscuity under oxidative stress.  Current  Biol.   21, 243-248. 
  • Ben Szaro (UA Department of Biology) had published several papers on neurofilaments, regeneration and gene regualation.  A review, (by Szaro and  Strong:2010 “ Post-transcriptional control of neurofilaments: new roles in development, regeneration, and neurodegenerative disease” .  Trends  Neurosci. 33: 27-37; (by Gibbs, et al:2011) “ Metamorphosis and the regenerative capacity of spinal cord axons in Xenopus laevis”. Eur. J. Neurosci. 33: 9-25; (by Szaro and Strong:2011) “Regulation of cytoskeletal composition in neurons: transcriptional and post-transcriptional control in development, regeneration, and disease: Adv. Neurobiol. 3: 559-602; and (by Liu and Szaro:2011) “hnRNP K post-transcriptionally co-regulates multiple cytoskeletal genes needed for axonogenesis”. Development 138: 3079-3090.
  • Melinda Larsen (UA Department of Biology) and collaborator Michael Gerdes (General Electric Global Research) received a National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research -National Institutes of Health (NIH) Challenge Grant to develop a high resolution proteomics atlas of salivary gland development. Dr. Larsen’s research appeared recently in the paper (by Daley, Glufo, Sequeira and Larsen: 2009) “Identification of a mechanochemical checkpoint and negative feedback loop regulating branching morphogenesis.” Developmental  Biology  336:169-182.
  • Jayanti Pande (UA Department of Chemistry) was awarded an NIH Competing Renewal Grant to continue investigations into genetic or age-onset modification of gamma crystallins resulting in eye lens opacity. Dr. Pande’s research (Pande, Gillot, and Pande: 2009) is in Biochemistry 48, 4937-4945 as “The cataract-linked R14C mutant of human gamma D-crystallin forms multiple protein-protein Disulfide Crosslinks: A Raman spectroscopic study.” Dr. Pande was an invited speaker at the recent U.S.-Japan Cooperative Cataract Research Group meeting where she co-organized and chaired a session on "Lens Crystallins".
  • Cheryl Frye (UA Department of Psychology) received a National Science Foundation (NSF) award for her investigation in the role of membrane progestin receptors in progestin-facilitated sexual responses.  In addition, Dr. Frye has received NIH funding to investigate non-genomic actions for socio-sexual behavior in rodents.  Dr. Frye has recently published two reviews on “Steroids, reproductive endocrine function, and cognition” and “Steroids, reproductive endocrine function, and affect” in Minerva Gynecology. 2009. 61:563-85 and 541-62 respectively and in November Dr. Frye received the Distinguished Alumnae Award from Boston Latin School. 
  • Igor Lednev (UA Department of Chemistry) has been awarded research funding from the Department of Justice to utilize Raman Spectroscopy to investigate and develop nondestructive confirmatory methods for identifying body fluids.  Dr. Lednev proposes to develop a library of Raman signatures for various body fluids as well as software for unknown sample analysis.
  • Ben Szaro (UA Department of Biology) has been awarded a research grant from the NSF to investigate "Post-transcriptional regulation of neurofilament expression during axon outgrowth." Dr. Szaro has published a recent review [Szaro and Strong] (2010) on “Post-transcriptional control of neurofilaments: New roles in development, regeneration and neurodegenerative disease” in Trends in Neuroscience, 33: 27-33