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Brown biologist wins NSF's Waterman Award
Date:3/14/2011

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] A Brown University biologist who uses sophisticated genomic and computational techniques to learn about little-known animals that help show how complex multicellular organisms, including humans, were formed, has been named the 2011 recipient of the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award.

Casey Dunn, assistant professor of biology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is the first Brown faculty member to receive the award and the 10th scientist in the biological sciences category to be honored in the 36-year history of the program, established by Congress on the 25th anniversary of the NSF in honor of its first director.

"The Waterman Award is designed to recognize outstanding young researchers like Casey Dunn," said NSF Director Subra Suresh. "His research has already made substantial contributions to our understanding of the origins of a diversity of life. His insights should further this important field of study in the years to come."

In addition to a medal and other recognition, Dunn will receive $500,000 over three years to pursue his research.

Dunn said the award was especially timely, as he has a "shovel-ready project" to collect siphonophores, rare marine organisms that live at great depths in the open oceans. Dunn wants to collect specimens and use new genomic tools to learn which genes are responsible for similarities and differences among these multicelled organisms.

"I'm really excited because with this award I can go after some animals that I would not have been able to get otherwise," said Dunn, whose collection expeditions may include waters off the coast of France and in the Pacific Ocean.

"We had already run the first analyses and were just starting to look for funding," Dunn said. "The timing could not have been better. We're ready to start these projects." This interdisciplinary research requires fieldwork at remote locatio
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Contact: Richard Lewis
Richard_Lewis@brown.edu
401-863-3766
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

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