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GSSIMR predocs clinch competitive awards

May 8 2019

Cassandra Kempf and Nicole Nuckolls

Grants and fellowships aren’t just for established scientists, as several GSSIMR predoctoral researchers have shown. Grants and fellowships make research trainees more attractive for postdoctoral positions and they show how the trainees have already jumped competitive hurdles to obtain research funding. The process of writing a grant application alone provides great benefit. It requires organization and careful thought to outline and detail a scientific project plan.


Nicole Nuckolls and Cassandra Kempf are the latest GSSIMR predocs to have been awarded competitive funding.


Nicole Nuckolls was awarded a two-year fellowship from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Her research examines a class of genes called killer meiotic drivers. This class of genes acquired its name because these genes bias their own transmission to gametes (such as eggs and sperm) by poisoning all gametes but rescuing only the gametes that inherited them during the process of meiosis. Nuckolls’s goal is to use yeast to identify the mechanism that enacts the poison-antidote meiotic drive. This research may lead to a better understanding of the origins of infertility.


Cassandra Kempf received a three-year award. The award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences funds her research of the Sin3 complexes. These protein complexes have been linked to cancer and neurological disorders. Kempf aims to identify direct interactions of these proteins, some of which may likely be competing for the same interactions in the same cell, using biochemical and quantitative imaging techniques and then build a model of the protein interaction network whereby direct interactions can be defined in a systematic way.

Two additional GSSIMR predocs, Maria Bravo Nunez and Irina Pushel, received funding in late 2018.  You can read about their awards in the most recent issue of the Stowers Report. In all, five GSSIMR predocs have received competitive fellowship funding.