NIH Grant for Graf to Continue Brain Circuitry Research
Submitted on Monday, 7/14/2014, at 11:36 AM
Here’s a humbling notion: the nervous system of a fruit fly larva and that of a human are remarkably similar.
Ethan Graf, assistant professor of biology at Amherst College, calls this similarity “evolutionary conservation,” and he’s been making full use of it since 2005. That’s when he first began studying the synapses, or connections, between neurons in the brain and nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly.
Benzodiazepines. Arithmetic dynamics. Matter at the coldest temperatures of the universe. The fundamental underlying symmetries of nature. And parasites that live on tsetse flies.
What do all of these have in common? They all are faculty research topics that have recently received significant grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) or National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The four professors will use their grants to work with students to continue researching brain circuitry, fish evolution, plant disease and environmental conservation, respectively. Below are brief descriptions of the grants and the research that will be supported.
For students or alumni who might find this information useful:I graduated in 2005 with majors in Biology and History, and a thesis on the teaching of evolution and creationism in high schools in Arkansas.