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Nicole George wins 2012 Journal of Experimental Biology Outstanding Paper Prize
Date:11/21/2012

nderful because it gave me the experience I needed to know that I really wanted to go into this field as a grad student'. Having joined Daniel's University of Washington Lab, she was also awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Explaining that the success rate for applicants is extremely low, Daniel says, 'The NSFGRF program gives students an amazing amount of freedom to pursue research that isn't tied to an existing grant'. And George grasped this opportunity with both hands. Daniel recalls, 'When Nicole joined my lab she said, "I don't want to just do a dotting 'i' and crossing 't' type of project, I want to do something where there is a conceptual advance", and we had this temperature gradient in Manduca muscle as a back-burner project and that is where Nicole took off'.

'The concept of a temperature gradient arose from the idea that if you have a muscle contracting and producing heat with convective cooling on the surface then presumably there should be a temperature gradient throughout the muscle', explains George. 'I started the thesis by really honing in on whether the temperature gradient exists' she adds. Measuring the temperature at a series of locations in the main flight muscles (the dorsolongitudinal muscles) of tethered flying Manduca sexta, George measured a 5.6C temperature difference between the top and bottom of the flight muscle because the muscle segments in the insect's back were cooled by the passing air flow. And when George measured how the top and bottom portions of the muscle contracted at the same temperature, she could see that both sections contracted at the same rates. However, the rates of contraction differed significantly when the portions were at different temperatures, forcing the cooler sections to contract at a lower rate than the warmer sections, suggesting that the cooler top segments would produce significantly less mechanical power (George and Daniel, 2011). In ot
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Contact: Kathryn Knight
kathryn@biologists.com
The Company of Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

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