Predocs Snag NIH Grants

Blake Ebner and Karla Terrazas

Karla Terrazas, a predoctoral researcher in the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute, has been awarded a three-year fellowship from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Craniofacial malformations account for approximately one-third of congenital anomalies and are a significant cause of infant mortality. Terrazas’ research project focuses on understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of ribosomopathy disorders and their associated craniofacial birth defects. A ribosomopathy results from errors in ribosome biogenesis, which is a mechanism required for cell growth, proliferation, and survival. Understanding the biological mechanisms that govern this process is essential for developing strategies for the prevention and treatment of ribosomopathy disorders.

Blake Ebner, a predoctoral researcher in the MD-PhD Physician Scientist Training Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center who is completing his research project in the Si Lab, received a four-year NIH fellowship from the National Institute on Aging.

Ebner studies prion-like proteins called CPEB and Orb2 that may play a role in the formation and maintenance of long-term memory. Unlike prions that cause neurodegenerative disease when aggregated, these prion-like proteins seem to perform normal cellular functions. Ebner believes that a greater understanding of the cellular mechanisms that regulate these prion-like proteins may provide insight for controlling aggregation of other disease-causing prions and prion-like proteins.