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Five Middlebury Faculty Receive Continued VGN Funding

October 4, 2017

Vermont Genetics Network grants for Research in the Biomedical Sciences
Middlebury College is one of the baccalaureate partner institutions participating in a major grant from the National Institutes of Health to the University of Vermont. This grant continues the Vermont Genetics Network support that has been an important source of funding for faculty and student research during the past decade. Project grants support summer and academic-year effort for faculty members from June 2017-May 2018, and pilot grants support summer effort for faculty members for research conducted during the same period. The following faculty members received individual grants from this program to support their research this year:

David Allen (Biology) received a project grant titled Effect of Elevation and Forest Area on Ixodes Density and Borrelia-Infection. The proposed work aims to understand the effect of elevation and forest fragmentation on Ixodes scapularis density and Borrelia-infection and add to our understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns in tick risk. The grant includes support for three undergraduate students.

Amanda Crocker (Neuroscience) received a pilot grant titled Mapping the Neuronal Circuitry and Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Nociception in D. Melanogaster. The proposed work aims to characterize the neural circuitry underlying electric shock detection, identify novel molecular pathways involved in pain, and investigate the role of novel genes in pain perception. The grant includes support for one undergraduate student.

Michael Dash (Psychology and Neuroscience) received a pilot grant titled Metabolic Consequences of Synaptic Plasticity. The proposed work aims to examine a common neuronal mechanism that produces lasting alterations in brain metabolism to determine its role in contributing to the development of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegeneration. The grant includes support for one undergraduate student.

Michael Durst (Physics) received a small grant titled High-Speed 3D Multiphoton Fluorescence Imaging with Temporal Focusing Microscopy. The proposed work aims to improve the speed of 3D multiphoton microscopy through temporal focusing, with the goal of reaching video-rate 3D imaging in biological tissue.

Lesley-Ann Giddings (Chemistry and Biochemistry) received a pilot grant titled Induction of Cryptic Genes in Rare Antarctic Marinobacter for the Production of Novel Secondary Metabolites.  The proposed work aims to find new antimicrobials by identifying and characterizing the chemical diversity used by extremophiles to adapt to their environments, and to provide insight into how environmental factors impact gene expression, enabling further study of secondary metabolism in Blood Falls, Antarctica. The grant includes support for two undergraduate students.