CAMDEN A top national award for promising research scientists has been presented to Princeton resident Nir Yakoby, an assistant professor of biology at Rutgers UniversityCamden.
Yakoby has received a prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. The five-year, $686,544 award, which is reviewed and renewed annually based on the scientific progress of the project, supports the RutgersCamden researcher's project "Dynamics and Diversity of Bone Morphogenetic Protein Signaling in Epithelial Cells."
The grant will allow Yakoby and his research lab team to study the processes that occur during the time that cells decide what to become. RutgersCamden student researchers will join Yakoby in using the fruit fly Drosophila as an experimental system to study how very similar layers of cells produce different numbers of tubes. Through this work, the RutgersCamden researcher will seek to understand how changes in the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signal create different morphologies.
In explaining his research, Yakoby posits the following questions: "Why do we have two arms and two legs and not three of each? Why do we have five fingers and not six?" The RutgersCamden researcher seeks to find those answers by examining the signals and processes that advise cells as they form organs.
"These questions are particularly intriguing since the cells in the human body all contain the same genetic information. However, the clear cells in the eyes' corneas are obviously very different from the cells that secrete insulin in the pancreas," notes Yakoby.
A major goal of the NSF CAREER Award is to integrate academic teaching with research in the lab. RutgersCamden students will participate in this research.
In the Yakoby Lab, RutgersCamden students use the fruit fly Drosophila as an experimental system to study how a layer of cells in the fly ovaries form an eggshell. The eggshell protects th
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