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:
- Dr. Stephen M. Welch, Agronomy, KSU lead
- Dr. Judy Roe, Biology
- Dr. Mary Knapp, state climatologist for Kansas
- Dr. Sanjoy Das, Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering
- Dr. William H. Hsu, Computing and Information Sciences (that's me)
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.