Dunn is the tenth scientist in the biological sciences category to be honored with the Waterman Award in its 36-year history. The annual Waterman award recognizes an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by NSF. Candidates may not be older than 35, or seven years beyond receiving a doctorate on the year of nomination and must stand out for their individual achievements. The selection committee is made up of 12 appointed members from academia and industry.
Dunn said the award was especially timely, as he has a "shovel-ready project" to collect siphonophores, marine organisms that live at great depths in the open oceans. Once he can collect specimens, Dunn wants to use new genomic tools to learn which genes are responsible for similarities and differences among these multi-celled 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 organism collection expeditions may include the waters off the coast of France and in the Pacific Ocean.
"We have already run the first analyses and were just starting to look for funding," Dunn continued. "The timing could not have been better. We're ready to start these projects."
This interdisciplinary research requires field work at remote locations to collect specimens, new laboratory-based tools for collecting genome data and large analyses that require a supercomputer. The work will be facilitated by recent investments made by Brown University to upgrade DNA sequencing tools and scientific computing infrastructure.
NSF funding in another area will enhance Dunn's research. This summer, Brown University received over $1 million through NSF's Research Infrastructure Improvement Inter-Campus and Intra-Campus Cyber Connectivity (RII C2) program. Part of the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), this program supports
|Contact: Lisa-Joy Zgorski|
National Science Foundation