Burke Receives $395,000 from NSF, $100,000 from NIH

Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, recently received a three-year, $395,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the development and evolution of the shoulder girdle using transgenic mice, frog and salamander. The mice will be generated in collaboration with a lab at the University of Michigan and will allow Burke and her associates to turn off Hox genes, which are specific patterning genes, in specific sub populations of the embryonic mesoderm that make the musculoskeletal tissues. Comparing the dynamics of gene expression and cell interactions during the formation of the pectoral region in a variety of embryos will help Burke and other scientists understand the evolution of these musculoskeletal structures and the dramatic variations among vertebrate lineages associated with adaptations for different locomotor strategies, like swimming, scurrying, crawling and flying.

Burke also received a two-year $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use the same amphibian systems (salamander and frog) to develop a model system for understanding body wall defects in humans.