February 27, 2015

New MJ Murdock Charitable Trust Grant to Norma Velazquez Ulloa

Nicotine and Fruit Flies

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has awarded Assistant Professor of Biology Norma Velazquez Ulloa a $60,000 Natural Sciences grant for her project, “Elucidating the mechanisms of developmental nicotine’s effects on the nervous system and behavior of Drosophila melanogaster.” This project uses Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, as a model organism to characterize mechanisms that contribute to behavior. Dr. Velazquez Ulloa’s lab focuses on the mechanisms of drug addiction, specifically the effects of nicotine exposure during development on the nervous system and adult behavior. Over the next three years, Dr. Velazquez Ulloa, four undergraduates, and one high school student will work together to find novel genes that contribute to, and study the effects of, nicotine exposure on nervous system development. More information about Dr. Velazquez Ulloa’s research is available here.

February 2015