Allyson Hindle (School of Life Sciences) received a grant, "Epigenetic pathways to regulate homeostatic resilience: Model-based discovery of rules across diverse mammals," from the National Science Foundation and its Rules of Life Mechanism. The total collaborative grant is for five years and $3 million with UNLV receiving $884,080.
This project will discover the biological rules that govern how different species respond, at cellular level, to changes in their environment, and why some species are more robust than others. All species encounter environmental variation, but some tolerate extremes that would be dangerous to most other species. Fruit bats withstand dramatic changes in blood glucose between feeding and flying, camels tolerate high body temperatures in hot desert environments, and deep-diving mammals survive with little oxygen during long dives. The goal is to understand how diverse species cope with extremes by measuring how their cells respond in the lab to changing culture conditions that mimic real-world variation. This will provide a foundation for developing mathematical models to understand the genetic components of this tolerance, and why the response differs between species.
The grant is a collaboration with researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Broad Institute, and the University of Minnesota.