Institutional Awards

Partnership for Better Health – Mini Grant. $1,800. (Joyce Bylander, Student Development) “CONNECT/CALC Collaboration” The CONNECT/CALC Collaboration between Dickinson College and Carlisle Arts Learning Center is a unique 4 week summer program that is targeted at enriching the lives of up to 24 at-risk teens. The program will operate June 30-July 25 and each week will have a thematic emphasis, including: Natural Art & Healthy Living; Seeing Our Lives Through the Lens & Through Creative Writing; Architecture/Sculpture Week: Building Art & Building Ourselves; and Curating & Exhibiting: For Today and For the Future. Funding provided in part by the Partnership for Better Health.

Faculty Awards

National Science Foundation – Chemistry of Life Processes. $217,583. (Rebecca Connor, Chemistry) “RUI: Electrophilic Modulation of the Heat Shock Response System.” The proposed research will identify the amino acids within the heat shock transcription factor (Hsf1) modified by electrophilic natural products (such as parthenolide and derivatives) and model electrophilic compounds using liquid-chromatography/mass spectrometry. Once identified, the effect of these modifications on the interaction of Hsf1 with other heat shock proteins will be determined using bio-layer optical interferometry for measurement of binding affinity and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). Recombinant Hsf1 containing mutations at the identified modification sites will also be studied using interferometry and EMSA. Some of these mutant proteins will be generated through the introduction of a protein mutation and purification module in my Chem/Bio 342 class (Structure and Function of Biomolecules). The publication of this module represents part of the broader impacts of the grant to the biochemical education literature. The effects of modification by electrophiles on the chaperone ability of heat shock proteins 70 and 90 will also be determined using luciferase re-folding assays. The effect of potential chemotherapeutics as well as endogenously created electrophiles on the heat shock response of human cells has implications with respect to the toxicology of electrophilic compounds.

National Science Foundation, Ocean Acidification program. $248,040. (Tony Pires, Biology). “Ocean Acidification/Collaborative Research/RUI: Effects of Ocean Acidification on Larval Competence, Metamorphosis, and Juvenile Performance in a Planktotrophic Gastropod.” This three-year collaborative project (with Tufts University) will take place on the Dickinson campus during the academic year and at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs during the summer. The research goals are to understand how ocean acidification, caused by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, affects the life history of marine organisms. Although there has been much recent work on the effects of acidification on growth and development of marine organisms, there has been little attention to effects on metamorphosis, which is the transition between larval and juvenile life stages in most marine animals. There also has been little attention to “latent effects” of acidification, that is, how exposure to acidified conditions during the larval stage might impact later life history stages.

Partnership for Better Health, Health Markets Analysis Program. $40,000. (David Sarcone, IB&M). Prof. Sarcone, in collaboration with Chad Kimmel of Shippensburg University, will conduct a business market analysis that will generate a clearer understanding of the demand for specific health services in Perry County, including a focus on health services for residents who lack adequate health insurance.

National Science Foundation. $256,855. (John Henson, Biology) “COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH/RUI: G protein regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in the cleavage stage embryo.” Many fundamental aspects of cell architecture and behavior are mediated by a series of structural and motor proteins that comprise the “cytoskeleton.”  Filaments composed of the protein actin are one main element of the cytoskeleton and in conjunction with a large contingent of actin binding proteins and the myosin family motor proteins, they help mediate cell movement, shape change and division. The complex structural organization and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton has been extensively studied in highly motile, polarized and flattened cultured cells. This proposal plans to investigate the regulation and organization of actin in a large and unpolarized spherical cell, the sea urchin first division embryo. This long standing developmental biology experimental model offers some unique advantages including the ability to track actin dynamics in the living cell as well as the availability of specific treatments to interfere with aspects of actin cytoskeletal function. The proposed studies will employ sophisticated microscopic, molecular and pharmacological approaches to investigate the regulation and organization of the actin cytoskeleton underlying the changes that take place at the surface of the sea urchin embryo post fertilization and those that accompany the division of the cell during the process of cytokinesis. (Collaborating institution: New Mexico State University)

Student Awards