The National Science Foundation renewed the grant of Diane Bassham (genetics, development and cell biology professor) and Gustavo MacIntosh (biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology associate professor), effective Aug. 1. The $899,991 grant is Award No. 1714996, “Autophagy-dependent and –independent mechanisms of RNA transport to the vacuole and their role in rRNA turnover and cellular homeostasis.” The grant’s estimated end date is July 31, 2021.
Bassham, Walter E. and Helen Parke Loomis Professor of Plant Physiology, recently answered a few questions regarding the grant renewal.
Q. Why is this grant renewal important to the MacIntosh and Bassham labs and to Iowa State University?
A. The MacIntosh and Bassham labs have established a highly productive interdisciplinary collaboration over the past few years that has enabled us to tackle important issues in plant cell function and stress tolerance. The grant renewal will allow us to continue and expand this collaboration, addressing questions that each lab independently would be unable to answer.
Q. Why is this research important?
Ribosomes are cellular machines that make proteins and are vital for survival. How they are disposed of at the end of their useful life is not known, despite the importance of this process for controlling their number and activity and, in turn, plant growth. We will identify the mechanisms by which ribosomes are broken down once they are damaged or no longer needed, which may allow the development of crops and other plants with an optimized balance between growth and adaptation to stress conditions.
Q. How will undergraduate and graduate students, as well as high school teachers, be involved in the research?
A. As part of our project, we will recruit graduate and undergraduate students to conduct laboratory research toward the project objectives. The aim is to encourage students to become involved in scientific research and potentially to continue in a scientific career. High school teachers will be introduced to research as part of the ISU Research Experiences for Teachers program, enabling them to integrate more research-based content and activities into their high school curricula, and, therefore, broadening the impact of our research.