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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

PD/PI:
  • Renee Dale
Award Date:05/11/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 216,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 216,000
  • FY 2021=$216,000
Start Date:07/01/2021
End Date:06/30/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.074
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology FY 2021: Establishing parametric variability as a driver of plasticity across genotypes with diverse life histories ...
Federal Award ID Number:2109790
DUNS ID:NR
Program:NPGI PostDoc Rsrch Fellowship
Program Officer:
  • Gerald Schoenknecht
  • (703) 292-5076
  • gschoenk@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:
City:St Louis
State:MO
ZIP:63146
County:
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Donald danforth plant science center
Street:
City:Olivette
State:MO
ZIP:63132-0340
County:Saint Louis
Country:US
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

This action funds an NSF Plant Genome Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology for FY 2021. The fellowship supports a research and training plan in a host laboratory for the Fellow who also presents a plan to broaden participation in biology. The title of the research and training plan for this fellowship to Renee Dale is "Establishing parametric variability as a driver of plasticity across genotypes with diverse life histories through a novel mathematical modeling framework". The host institution for the fellowship is the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and the sponsoring scientists are Dr. Ivan Baxter and Dr. Shankar Mukherji. Changes in climate increase the frequency and severity of extreme environmental conditions. Organisms with the ability to be flexible (“plasticity”) can rapidly adapt to these changes. Plants need to be especially flexible since they cannot move if their environment suddenly changes. Identifying the mechanisms that allow flexibility is increasingly important. Due to the amount of information needed to understand plasticity throughout the plant life cycle, models and computational approaches are needed. A new method is proposed to identify ways that plants are flexible using hundreds of plants coming from diverse environments. It is hypothesized that plants from extreme environments will be more flexible, with more modes of growth. Modeling will be used to identify different modes of growth and understand the underlying mechanisms. The results could be used in plant breeding programs to improve crop resilience and the approach can be used to understand the growth of other species. The proposed research will provide the PI with training and development opportunities in mathematics (biological stochasticity), biology (quantitative genetics, ecology, and plant physiology), and computation (Python coding and high-performance computing). The impact of this work will be broadened through the development and dissemination of an educational video game, intended to improve diversity and inclusion of under-represented individuals. The video game will introduce these concepts to high school students in a low-stress way, circumventing the negative social perceptions of math. A novel mathematical modeling framework will be developed to identify processes driving plasticity across hundreds of plant genotypes with diverse eco-evolutionary backgrounds. A family of mathematical models of plant physiology and growth processes will be applied. Model parameters will be estimated using Bayesian parameter estimation, providing parametric distributions within and between genotypes. This will provide a conceptual framework to understand plasticity by integrating mathematical, computational, and biological theory. Processes driving plasticity have agricultural significance, as the ability of crops to adapt and respond to increasing environmental stress is paramount. Model parameters will be mapped to genomic loci, which could be used in breeding programs to test model predictions that such loci will confer plasticity, and to improve crop plants. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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