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(Back-dated a bit.)

Good news, part one of two, possibly three in a few months:

The National Science Foundation Frontiers in Integrative Biological Research (FIBR)1 grant for our project, "Molecular Evolutionary Ecology of Developmental Signaling Pathways in Complex Environments", is now official!

Here is the abstract, with more details that you probably want, unless you are othercriteria:

This research project will investigate how plants in natural environments integrate multiple environmental cues in order to flower during favorable seasonal conditions. To this end, it will dissect natural genetic variation in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana, combining tools from molecular biology, molecular evolutionary genetics, quantitative genetics, evolutionary ecology, gene network modeling, and biogeography. Major objectives are: 1) to identify natural genetic variants in environmental signal integration; 2) to dissect molecular mechanisms of signal integration; 3) to uncover the evolutionary forces shaping signaling pathways by analyzing DNA sequence variation in candidate genes; 4) to test whether natural variation in these candidate genes contributes to variation in response to multiple environmental cues; 5) to map quantitative trait loci (QTL) contributing to natural variation in flowering responses on a fine genetic scale; 6) to examine the effects of different combinations of natural allelic variants of candidate genes on flowering responses; 7) to model the effects of natural variation in candidate flowering genes on overall flowering pathway function; 8) to test for evidence of local adaptation to climate by examining geographic associations between flowering responses, candidate gene variation, and climate in the site of origin; 9) to measure geographic variation in natural selection by growing lines from different parts of Europe in replicated field experiments across the native European climatic range. Broader impacts: The results of this project will be important for predicting how plants will respond to ongoing climate change. The broad research scope will provide interdisciplinary training to postdoctoral, predoctoral, and undergraduate students as well as K-12 educators. International training collaborations with 7 leading European laboratories will provide unique opportunities for students and postdocs to learn Arabidopsis molecular and population genetics. Thus, future researchers and educators will learn to transcend disciplinary boundaries and integrate molecular and evolutionary approaches to biological problems.

The upshot of all this is that one of our faculty (Dr. Judith L. Roe) will spend a year in Spain, near Madrid, and we'll be planting weeds (no, weeds, not weed, hempknight and nobuddy69) in Finland, about 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle. (Yes, I know, you think I want to go to the arctic lab. Get over it!)

Four universities were jointly awarded this $5M, 5-year grant: Brown University, Kansas State University, the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and North Carolina State University. K-State's component accounts for $1.4M of the anticipated funding over 5 years.

The grant is one of six FIBR awards so far this year.

Today the padawan1 and new student (Waleed Al-Jandal) came over to meet the KSU FIBR team for the first time:

We spent about 10 minutes meeting with our NSF EPSCoR3 bigwig, who told us it was OK to go ahead and announce4 the grant tomorrow at the EPSCoR Statewide Conference.

Then the students went back to their cubicular activities and we met for another hour with Mary Lou Peter, the news director for the K-State Extension office. I got to talk for a couple of minutes about how Grid computing works and how it compares to SETI@Home and Distributed.net. I don't know how many of my 5-6 sentences will get used in the press release, but my guess is: not more than a couple. Even when deliberately couched in lay terms, CS wibble has a high eye-glaze factor, or so the reporters say.

1 You can see the 2003 FIBR awards here.
2 'k, he may be a Ph.D. student in computer science, but he can't make a home page worth trask. Somewizard put the dude's page out of its misery! I mean it, istari_ala... if only for charity! :-P
3 Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
4 Edit, 03:30 CDT Thu 16 Sep 2004: See, see, this, too, is why we roleplay with others. jackrenardine's player remembered not to blab stuff all over the place.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 16th, 2004 09:52 am (UTC)
Congratulations on the grant, Bill.
Sep. 16th, 2004 02:29 pm (UTC)
Congrats! Oh yes, and I LOVE Harry Connick Jr! Good taste in music you have. Yeeesss.
Sep. 17th, 2004 11:32 am (UTC)
Thanks very much, J!
What a cute sproglet! (She has your eyes! :-D)

Thanks for the compliment, too.

Hey, I did get your mail about lunch at Java - just been too swamped the last couple of weeks. I'm there most Wednesdays. Let me know what time works for you.

Sep. 17th, 2004 04:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks very much, J!
That would be great. How about this next Wednesday at 4:30? I get off of class at 3:30, so I'll have to run home and get cleaned up. I dunno if I'll have the sproglet with me by next week, but if I do, mind if I bring her along? :)
Sep. 17th, 2004 11:28 am (UTC)
Many thanks, Scott!
Yeah, it's a relief, even though I don't really know how much funding my group will actually be getting. The NSF FIBR was expected (at least, I'd heard some months ago that we reviewed at the top), but the NSF ITR wasn't. We'll see about the other three I have in the works.

Sep. 17th, 2004 11:34 am (UTC)
Re: Many thanks, Scott!
What exactly does the funding fund? Can I ask that?

I know at IBM, I have to submit my hours in a system called CLAIM every week. The hours spent doing different types of work are billed to different CLAIM codes. They use that system to track what type of work is being done and to spend the "blue dollars" frugally.

Would the grant be paying for hours of your labor or is the grant for computer hardware and other tangible things needed to do the research?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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