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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Arkansas
  • Nagayasu Nakanishi
  • (147) 957-5203
Award Date:07/27/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 1,150,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 564,694
  • FY 2021=$564,694
Start Date:08/01/2021
End Date:07/31/2026
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:CAREER: Neuropeptidergic control of life cycle transition in Cnidaria
Federal Award ID Number:2042529
DUNS ID:191429745
Parent DUNS ID:055600001
Program:Animal Developmental Mechanism
Program Officer:
  • Steven Klein
  • (703) 292-7122

Awardee Location

Street:1125 W. Maple Street
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Arkansas
Street:850 W. Dickson Street
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

The evolutionary origin of nervous systems is a fundamental problem in biology. Resolving this problem requires a clearer understanding of how the first nervous system functioned. By investigating how evolutionarily ancient neuropeptides control life cycle transition - from a larva into a juvenile form - in a sea anemone, this CAREER grant will establish a foundation for understanding how an early nervous system regulated developmental processes. Furthermore, this grant will benefit society in several ways. First, it will promote an in-depth understanding of the process of science at both undergraduate and graduate levels, by integrating research activities into a course aimed at advanced undergraduates and graduate students. The project is expected to expose up to 175 undergraduate and graduate students to research over five years. Second, this project will broaden participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM through participation in the Undergraduate Student Mentoring Program at the University of Arkansas. Third, this grant will strengthen research and educational environments of neuroscience and will pave the way for establishing Center for Integrative Systems Neuroscience at the University of Arkansas, which will promote collaborative research and education, and community outreach, in diverse fields of neuroscience in the State of Arkansas. The mechanism by which neuropeptides control life cycle transition is poorly understood in Cnidaria (i.e. jellyfish, corals and sea anemones). The proposed research plan will address this problem by elucidating how evolutionarily ancient Wamide neuropeptides control the timing of metamorphosis initiation in the sea anemone cnidarian N. vectensis. More specifically, the proposed project will 1) employ ligand binding assays to uncover Wamide receptors that are involved in metamorphosis regulation, and 2) use RNA-seq and CRISPR-Cas9-mediated reverse genetics to determine the identity and function of transcription factors that are regulated by Wamide signaling at metamorphosis. This study will enable comparative studies of mechanisms underlying neuropeptidergic regulation of life cycle transition across Cnidaria and its sister group Bilateria (e.g. worms and vertebrates). Such comparative studies are essential for defining deeply conserved and divergent mechanisms of neuropeptidergic regulation of postembryonic development. This knowledge, in turn, will contribute to our understanding of the evolution of nervous systems, and the evolution of development, by providing fundamental insights into 1) the ancestral mechanism by which the nervous system regulated postembryonic development in animals, and 2) how this mechanism has changed since the split of Cnidaria and Bilateria that occurred over 600 million years ago. 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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