Naegele Receives Major Conn. Stem Cell Grant

Janice Naegele, chair and professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, has received a $499,988.00 grant from the Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee for her study titled: “Brain Grafts of GABAergic Neuron Precursors Derived from Human and Mouse ES Cells for Treating Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.”

The four-year grant will begin in July 2009, and will support research in laboratories in Wesleyan’s biology department and neuroscience program. The research is directed toward generating inhibitory interneurons that we will transplant into the hippocampus of mice that have temporal lobe epilepsy. The goal of the project is to investigate the potential therapeutic effects of these embryonic stem cell derived neuron grafts for repairing damage to the brain and suppressing seizures.

The award is part of Connecticut’s $100 million Human Embryonic Stem Cell Initiative. Naegele’s co-investigators on this study will include Gloster Aaron, assistant professor of biology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, and Laura Grabel, the Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science in Society, professor of biology.

Grant Supports Green Street’s Community Mural Project

The Green Street Arts Center received a grant worth $10,000 from Citizens Bank and the Citizens Bank Foundation to support the Community Mural Project, an 18 month-long art program that will culminate in a large public mural, to be installed in the spring of 2009 on the corner of Main and Green Streets in the North End of Middletown. Led by mural artist Marela Zacarias, the project’s participants are a diverse group of Middletown children, their families, professional artists, Wesleyan students, and other community members.

Redfield Awarded NASA, NSF Grants

Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy, has received funding from NASA for three research grants. From the Space Telescope Science Institute a grant of $138,639 for his research “A SNAPSHOT Survey of the Local Interstellar Medium: New NUV Observations of Stars with Archived FUV Observations”, and $50,766 for his research “Probing the Atomic & Molecular Inventory of the Beta-Pic Analog, the young, Edge-On Debris Disk of HD32297.” Both awards include new observations with the Hubble Space Telescope. From the JPL Spitzer Program $41,213 for his research of “Interactions of the Cold and Hot ISM: Imaging the Nearest Molecular Clouds in the Local Bubble.” This award includes new observations with the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Redfield also was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant of $316,789, titled “Comparative Exoplanetology: Ground-Based Observations of the Atmospheres of Transiting Exoplanets.” For this work, Redfield is collaborating with colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin.

Mukerji Awarded $780K from National Science Foundation

Ishita Mukerji.

Ishita Mukerji.

Ishita Mukerji, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, received a $798,368 grant from the National Science Foundation for her project “Structure and Function of Holliday Junctions complexed With Proteins Probed by Fluorescence and UV Raman Spectroscopic Methods.”

The grant is a continuing grant which has been approved on scientific / technical merit for approximately four years. The grant will be awarded April 1.

Dierker Receives $50K for Addiction Research

Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, has received a $50,000 research grant from the Peter F. McManus Charitable Trust. The award will support her work focusing on individual differences in the development of addiction. This research is aimed at identifying youth at greatest risk for dependence at various levels of alcohol and tobacco exposure.

NEA Grants Support Wesleyan Press, CFA

The Wesleyan University Press and the Center for the Arts have received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants in December 2008.

Wesleyan University Press received a $35,000 grant to help publish the work of the following poets: Kazim Ali, Rae Armantrout, Adrian Blevins, Kamau Brathwaite, Brenda Hillman, Ed Roberson, Afzal Ahmed Syed, Roberto Tejada and Tan Lin.

The Center for the Arts received $10,000 grant to help fund the “Breaking Ground Dance Series and DanceMasters Weekend.

Aaron Awarded $50,000 for Epilepsy Study

Gloster Aaron, assistant professor of biology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, received a $50,000 grant from The Epilepsy Foundation on Dec. 6 titled “STEP Regulation of Epileptogensis in the Hippocampus.”

Drugs prescribed to combat epilepsy can yield unwanted side effects. One reason that drugs have side effects is that they can affect almost every neuron in the brain, regardless of their roles in spreading seizures. Aaron will research ways target only the neurons that may be most important in stopping the spread of seizures. Previous work has shown that a certain protein, STEP, is found in select groups of neurons. One of those groups of neurons, the hilar interneurons of the hippocampus, is a crticial group with regards to epilepsy. By manipulating that protein, researchers can target that group of neurons, and hopefully gain traction in a selective therapy for preventing and curing epilepsy.

NASA Awards Grant for Venus Study

Martha Gilmore, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, received a grant from NASA on Nov. 18. The award, worth $212,000, will fund a study titled “Mapping and Structure Analysis of Fold Belts in Tessera Terrain, Venus.” Gilmore is conducting the study with Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences.

GSAC Afterschool, Latino Series, Video Projects Supported

The Green Street Arts Center received a grant worth $12,500 from the Bissell Foundation in support of the GSAC AfterSchool Program; a $500 award for the Summer Video Project from the Middletown Commission on the Arts & Cultural Activities; and a $200 award from the New England Foundation for the Arts to support the fall 2008 GSAC Latino Series.

Chernoff Receives Nature Conservancy Grant

Barry Chernoff, professor of biology, Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, director of the environmental studies certificate program, received a $6,950 renewal award  to support his continued research of Fish and Benthic Invertebrate Assemblages-Zemko Dam from the Nature Conservancy.

Imai Receives FDIC Research Grant

Masami Imai, assistant professor of economics, assistant professor of East Asian Studies, received a research grant from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Center for Financial Research for a proposal titled “Real Effects of Finance: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Japan” on April 30.