Seed Funding for Scientific Innovation


Photography by Alex Dolce.

Seed Funding for Scientific Innovation

Florida Atlantic Announces Recipients of New Research Pilot Grants

Florida Atlantic University’s Jupiter Life Science Initiative and the Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention recently announced the recipients of an inaugural pilot grant opportunity.

The funding is designed to support collaborations on Florida Atlantic’s John D. MacArthur Campus at Jupiter between faculty and on-campus partners, Max Planck Florida Institute (MPFI) and The Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology (UF-Scripps). The long-term goal of these pilot awards is to encourage original and innovative research in the field of life science by providing the initial funding needed to generate preliminary data required for larger federal grant submissions.

“Pilot awards enable the next generation of critical data and elevate the competitiveness of those projects for subsequent extramural funding,” said Robert Stackman Jr., Ph.D., associate vice president for Academic Affairs – Jupiter and dean of the Graduate College. “We congratulate these meritorious pilot award recipients, and we look forward to the scientific breakthroughs that will be sure to come from their collaborative research.”

The following projects were funded:

1) Consequences and possibilities for treatment of serotonergic mPFC plasticities induced in female mice by the human dopamine transporter coding variant Ala559Val. Awarded to Randy Blakely, Ph.D., executive director of the Florida Atlantic Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute and professor of biomedical science at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, in collaboration with McLean Bolton, research group leader studying disorders of neural circuit function at MPFI. Award amount: $30,000.

2) Determining the role of glia in naturally occurring behavioral variations. Awarded to Laura Fontenas, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, in collaboration with Erik Dubuoé, associate professor of biology at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College. Award amount: $25,000.

3) Social emotions, genetic variations and brain development: A feasibility study in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Awarded to Nancy Jones, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the College of Science, in collaboration with Marc Kantorow, Ph.D., associate dean of Graduate Programs and professor of biomedical sciences at the College of Medicine. Award amount: $30,000.

4) Development of a screening platform for discovery of novel molecular glues without a bias for any of the E3 ligases. Awarded to Ania Knapinska, Ph.D., research professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the College of Science, in collaboration with Thomas Kodadek, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at UF-Scripps. Project award: $30,000.

5) Simulating the neural network activity driving during stereotypical turn in flies. Awarded to Rodrigo Pena, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences at the College of Science, in collaboration with Salil Bidaye, research group leader studying neuronal control of locomotion at MPFI. Award amount: $30,000.

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