Science research roundup: October 2022

Science research roundup: October 2022

Last month, Arts & Sciences researchers received awards from the Moore Foundation, the Leakey Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.

Richard D. Vierstra, the George and Charmaine Mallinckrodt Professor of Biology, received a four-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his project titled “Phytochromes: Structural Perspectives on Photoactivation and Signaling.”

Erik Henriksen, associate professor of physics, and Kater Murch, professor of physics, each won $1.25 million grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for quantum physics experiments. Henriksen will investigate the physics of quantum spin liquids, a phase of matter that exhibits an exotic form of magnetism. He plans to create and probe quantum spin liquids in atomically thin materials which, by virtue of having no interior, can be readily manipulated to alter or enhance the magnetic couplings underlying the spin liquid state. Murch will develop a long-lived quantum memory based on spin-states of single electrons trapped in vacuum above solid neon in a cryogenic environment, providing new approaches to quantum error correction and quantum computing, advancing applications in quantum sensing, and enabling new tests of fundamental physics. Read more about how Henriksen and Murch will advance the scientific frontier as 2022 Experimental Physics Investigators with the Moore Foundation.

Washington University in St. Louis is now a part of the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Diseases (SSGCID) Consortium, and received a subcontract award of up to $50,000 from Seattle Children’s Research Institute. This project is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. The funding will support senior lecturer Craig Smith’s biology course, “Structural Bioinformatics of Proteins.”

E.A. Quinn, associate professor of biological anthropology, won a $22,875 grant from the Leakey Foundation for comparative analysis of neurotrophic markers in non-human primate milk and correlations with infant brain growth.

Kathryn Judson, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, won a $14,868 award from the Leakey Foundation to support her project on social influences on western lowland gorilla space use strategies.