Category: grant

Hopkinson awarded Sloan Foundation Fellowship

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sloan_foundation_hopkinson.jpgBig congratulations to assistant professor of marine sciences Brian Hopkinson, who was awarded a 2014 Sloan Foundation grant to support his work on rising carbon dioxide levels in the oceans:

The fellowship is presented by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation each year to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as part of the next generation of scientific leaders.  This year, 126 fellowships were awarded to promising young scientists like Hopkinson in eight scientific and technical disciplines.

Hopkinson, an assistant professor at UGA since 2010, was awarded the $50,000 fellowship to continue his work on investigating the physiological changes that occur in marine algae and corals due to rising CO2 concentrations in the ocean.

“As CO2 in the atmosphere increases, CO2 increases in the ocean and evidence suggests these increases cause higher rates of photosynthesis in the ocean,” said Hopkinson. “The molecular details of how that works were not very well understood.  But in some of our recent research, we established a decent explanation for how that happens.”

A very prestigious award - the Sloan Foundation announced the awards in a full page ad in the New York Times yesterday. More great news about another bright young faculty member. Very well done.

UGA Librairies Research Grant

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Apply for a Research Grant with UGA Libraries - Seven undergraduate research awards up for grabs

By Jessica Luton

jluton@uga.edu

 

Have a great idea for research but need a little funding help? The University of Georgia Libraries’ Undergraduate Research Awards are currently accepting applications for seven cash prizes totaling $2,000 for students who demonstrate distinction in research and academic inquiry. Find the requirements for applying here

Established in support of the University’s mission of instruction, research and service mission, these scholarships are meant to encourage scholarship and emphasize the research process using library resources and services.

This is a great opportunity for undergraduate students, especially those that may be embarking on a research project for the very first time.

Students must be enrolled in the CURO or Honors programs OR submit abstracts of their projects to the CURO Symposium by Feb. 14, in addition to applying for the research award.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity. But act fast. Deadlines are quickly approaching.  Read more about the UGA Libraries Undergraduate Research Award here and learn more about applying for the CURO Symposium here.

Kudos, January 2014

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With the New Year arrives awards, acknowledgments and congratulations to UGA faculty, staff, students and alumni for their many accomplishments. A sampling of these starts with this very cool use of the internet on Friday, January 10. The White House hosted a panel discussion on the the 'Polar Vortex' featuring our very own J. Marshall Shepherd and host of other climate and weather luminaries:

WetheGeek hangout

Archived video of the discussion is here

$7.4 million NIH grant to Franklin researchers

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glycoenzymesFor the second time in two months,  a group of UGA researchers have received significant grant support from the NIH to study and experiment on the sugar molecules known as glycans:

[The researchers] have received a five-year $7.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help better understand one of the most fundamental building blocks of life.

$10m NIH grant to Center for Biomedical Glycomics

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Glycocalix slide photo digitizedGlycobiology is very complex science - the study the structures, biosynthesis and biology of the sugar chains, or glycans, that are essential components in all living things. Glycans have been the focus of much attention by UGA researchers recently, and now glycobiology is at the center of big new NIH grant to another team of Franklin College researchers:

Researchers at the University of Georgia have received a five-year, $10.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support the National Center for Biomedical Glycomics, a consortium of UGA faculty and staff working to develop new technologies for the analysis of glycans.

Glycans are sugar molecules that coat the surface of every living cell. Once thought to be relatively unimportant, scientists now recognize that glycans play critical roles in cell regulation, human health and disease progression.

"This is a big piece of the human disease pie that science is only beginning to explore," said Michael Pierce, NCBG principal investigator and member of UGA's Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. "The tide is starting to turn, and researchers are beginning to appreciate how important these sugar molecules are, so our glycomics center exists to develop the technologies and tools to investigate these critical structures."

Our understanding of basic science and its impact on human health continues to grow, and we are indebted to the teams of UGA researchers and the university, which has made interdisciplinary research a reality by developing the facilities for it to thrive. And again, the federal funding mechanisms play such an important role in this work, incentiving work in basic science research that can potentially benefit the widest population, work that itself might be left on the table for generations in a private-sector R & D environment. This process of discovery itself is a complex system, but this consortium is a terrific signal that it is working.

Image: Glycocalix bei Bacillus Anthracis, courtesy of the National Institutes of Health, via Wikimedia Commons.

Starai awarded $1.5m to study Legionnaires' disease

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Originally named from an outbreak at an American Legion convention in 1976, Legionellosis or Legionaires' disease is a severe type of pneumonia that affects only a small percentage of the population but can be fatal. UGA researcher Vincent Starai was recently awarded $1,503,565 by the National Institutes of Health to investigate how the bacterium that causes Legionellosis overcome the body’s defenses.

Starai is an assistant professor who holds a joint appointment with the departments of microbiology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and infectious diseases in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

...

Bacteria enter the lungs and are attacked by phagocytes, the white blood cells that fight infection. Normally phagocytes eat foreign particles, engulfing and breaking them into smaller fragments within a specialized compartment called the lysosome, but Legionella bacteria somehow block this process. Instead of fusing with the lysosome and disintegrating, the pathogen survives as a whole entity inside the phagocyte. The microbe then multiplies and reproduces inside the larger host cell. When the phagocyte finally dies, it releases a batch of new Legionella microbes ready to infect more phagocytes.
Over the next five years, Starai will look at proteins secreted by Legionella that prevent the host cell’s internal membranes from fusing with the lysosome. The fusion of these membranes is an essential step in the degradation of invading microbes.

NSF renews coastal research grant

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Sapelo-island estuary daylight.The UGA Marine Institute on Sapelo Island was founded in 1953 and has been at the center of ecological research on salt-marsh coastal ecoystems ever since. That work, lead by our department of marine sciences, continues apace with the renewal of an important NSF grant:

A consortium of universities headed by the University of Georgia will continue ecological field research on the marshes and estuaries of the Georgia coast following the renewal of a six-year, $5.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The award will help scientists understand how these ecosystems function, track changes over time and predict how they might be affected by future variations in climate and human activities.

"Discerning long-term trends in natural systems requires careful scientific analysis over the course of many years," said Merryl Alber, Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long-Term Ecological Research project manager and professor of marine sciences at UGA.

Congratulations to all involved in the consortium, whose work will take on added urgency in the coming years, as coastal areas become the focus of increased observation on the effects of climate change. 

Image: Sapelo Island, courtesy UGA Photography.

 

$4.1 million from NIH to UGA researchers

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More terrific news from Franklin College scientists in the CCRC:

Ovarian and pancreatic cancers are among the most deadly, not because they are impossible to cure, but because they are difficult to find. There are no screening tests that can reliably detect their presence in early stages, and most diagnoses are made after the disease has already spread to lymph nodes and vital organs.

But University of Georgia cancer researchers Karen Abbott and Michael Pierce are exploring new methods of detecting these silent killers using the most advanced technologies available. They recently received two, five-year grants from the National Institutes of Health totaling more than $4.1 million to support their projects. Their work promises to help find the cancers early, when doctors have the best chance to help their patients fight the disease.

"Almost every cancer can be successfully treated if it is diagnosed early enough," said Pierce, Distinguished Research Professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and director of the UGA Cancer Center. "If we and others can identify something that helps us find the cancer very early, we will save lives."

History researcher ties 'Green Revolution' to the American South

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The Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development and technology transfer initiatives between the 1940's and the late 1970's that increased agricultural production around the world. This campaign disseminated U.S. agricultural methods, such as the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, hybrid seeds and the like to farmers throughout the developing world of the mid-twentieth century. Up to now, most scholars have credited the Rockefeller Foundation with devising the formulas behind this technology transfer, pointing to the Foundation's "Mexican Agricultural Program" that began in 1943 and was later transplanted in Columbia, India and the Phillipines.

Tore Olsson is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. & Latin American History in the UGA department of history whose dissertation research argues a different origin for the Green Revolution.

Marine Scientists receive $1.3 million Deepwater Horizon grant

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When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began to unfold in 2010, spreading agony for acquatic life, gulf-area residents and the federal government - not to mention BP - UGA scientists knew that the long-term consequences of the spill were likely the most worrisome. Now Samantha Joye and her marine science colleagues will be able to follow up on their very important initial investigations into the consequences of the spill:

University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha Joye, who is the Athletic Association Professor in Arts and Sciences, and UGA colleagues Patricia Medeiros and Christof Meile have received a $1.3 million grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative that will enable UGA researchers and scientists from 13 other institutions to understand more thoroughly the ecosystem impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.