August 31, 2016

NIH supports Wormland, too

NIH AREA Award to Dr. Greg Hermann’s research program

Professor and Chair of Biology Greg Hermann has landed his second external grant this summer. On the heels of a large National Science Foundation grant, the National Institutes of Health has awarded the College $383K in support of Dr. Hermann’s project, “Rab activation by ABC proteins during lysosome-related organelle biogenesis”. Funded by the Cell Biology and Biophysics Division of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) program, this three-year research project will lead to a better understanding of the trafficking pathways leading to Lysosome-related organelles (LROs). More specifically, undergraduates participating in this project will identify and characterize the activity of genes that function in LRO production. As cell type-specific compartments, LROs share characteristics with conventional lysosomes, yet have specialized functions. Disruption of LRO production leads to Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS), which is characterized by partial albinism and decreased blood clotting. The C. elegans genes that Dr. Hermann and his team investigate are homologous to human genes that cause HPS, and the results of this proposed research will be important in diagnosing and developing therapies to treat this disease. More about Dr. Hermann’s research is available here.

This federal grant program is highly competitive: over the past ten years, the average success rate for NIH’s AREA program is just over 19%.

August 2016