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Biology Faculty Receive Awards and Grants

John Dennehy (Asst. Prof., Queens) and Diana Bratu (Asst. Prof., Hunter) have each received a 2012 Career Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Dennehy studies the spread of viruses from one host to another as a means for understanding the evolutionary processes and population dynamics that underlie viral spread. A goal of this work is to more reliably predict the likelihood of pandemics arising from newly emerging pathogens. Dr. Bratu studies the spatial and temporal localization of particular messenger RNAs involved in complex developmental processes. She has developed a method for visualizing RNAs in living cells, a novel technique that will have important applications in numerous fields of biology. The NSF Career award is highly competitive, is limited to early-stage research scientists, and provides recipients with five years of research funding.

Mitchell Goldfarb (Prof., Hunter) has been named SFARI Investigator (Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative; sfari.org). Dr. Goldfarb's laboratory is studying the potential contribution of two neighboring genes to the development of autism spectrum disorder in individuals that carry deletions near the tip of chromosome 22. In support of these studies, his laboratory received a three-year individual research grant from SFARI. Work on this project is being spearheaded by Research Asst. Prof. Michael Urbanski in the Goldfarb lab.
 
The Human Frontier in Science Program has awarded a $1.2 million renewal grant (2012–15) to an international team of collaborators working on egg color mimicry in parasitic cuckoos. The award was made to Mark Hauber (Prof., Hunter) as Principal Investigator and his collaborators, Dr. Matt Shawkey (University of Akron), Dr. Geoff Waterhouse (University of Auckland, New Zealand), and Dr. Tomas Grim (Palacky University, Czech Republic). The title of the grant is "The chemistry of visual trickery: Mechanisms of egg colour mimicry in parasitic cuckoos." More than 800 preproposals were submitted, with only thirty-one full proposals receiving funding.
 
John Waldman (Prof., Queens) will be honored in October with the 2012 New York Conservation Leader Award from the Wildlife Conservation Society. Among other research interests, Dr. Waldman studies environmental issues affecting New York and surrounding areas. He is the author of two books forthcoming by Fordham Press: Heartbeats in the Muck: The History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York and Still the Same Hawk: Reflections on Nature in New York.

The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) honored Eleanore Wurtzel (Prof., Lehman) with their annual Fellow of ASPB award, in recognition of her "distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology and service to the Society." Dr. Wurtzel will be chairing the 2013 Gordon Research Conference on Carotenoids, to be held January 6–11 in Ventura, California, along with a new Gordon Research Conference Graduate Research Seminar on Carotenoids (January 5–6), which she founded. Dr. Wurtzel serves as chair of the Plant Sciences subprogram within Biology.

Submitted on: OCT 9, 2012

Category: Biology, Faculty Activities, Faculty Awards, Grants