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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

  • Victoria M Morgan
Award Date:06/22/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 207,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 207,000
  • FY 2021=$207,000
Start Date:06/01/2022
End Date:05/31/2025
Transaction Type:Grant
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: Invaders from the sea: unearthing the genomic basis of marine-to-terrestrial life-history transitions
Federal Award ID Number:2109869
Program:Broadening Participation of Gr
Program Officer:
  • Daniel Marenda
  • (703) 292-2157

Awardee Location

Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Yale University
City:New Haven
County:New Haven
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

This action funds an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology for FY 2021, Broadening Participation of Groups Underrepresented in Biology. The Fellowship supports a research and training plan for the Fellow that will increase the participation of groups underrepresented in biology. Since all life on Earth began in the oceans, but most large species currently live on land, the Fellow plans to study the genetic basis of sea-to-land transitions to better understand how these transitions, which have profoundly shaped modern biodiversity patterns on Earth, may have happened long ago. Using land crabs that spend part of their lives in aquatic habitats and the other part on land, the Fellow will explore gene expression patterns between their juvenile aquatic and adult terrestrial life stages to identify which genes may be associated with their terrestrial metamorphosis. By comparing these patterns across multiple species, the Fellow hopes to identify larger evolutionary patterns that might shed light on how life may have adapted to land millions of years ago. The Fellow will also create a mentorship program that pairs postdoctoral students from diverse groups with faculty from similar backgrounds to provide them with successful role models and guidance during a critical career phase. The program will also provide professional development opportunities that will prepare the mentees for applying to and securing academic or industry jobs, which will help increase the participation of these underrepresented groups in biology. The Fellow will characterize the larval stages of three land crab species with different developmental modes, and then compare intraspecies gene expression between developmental stages, and interspecies gene expression across developmental strategies to determine which genetic shifts may have been important changes that allowed for lineages with more direct developmental modes to adopt highly terrestrialized lifestyles. The findings from this project will provide insight into the nature of evolutionary predictability and its genomic underpinnings, as well as the genetic basis of major biological innovations and transitions. It will also generate novel genomic, transcriptomic, and developmental resources, and lay the groundwork for future studies that use transgenic tools and genome editing protocols to further investigate the genomic basis of convergently evolved terrestriality in this system. By undertaking this project, the Fellow will develop new skills in embryology and comparative developmental transcriptomics. In addition to designing and implementing her diverse mentorship program, the Fellow will also directly increase diversity in biology since she is also from an underrepresented group. 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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