SDB Emerging Models Grant

The Society for Developmental Biology Emerging Models Grant was established in 2016 to fund projects aimed at developing techniques, approaches, community resources, collaborations, and new lines of research to study developmental mechanisms in non-traditional model systems.  The types of projects supported by SDB Emerging Models awards are those that would not be funded by a granting agency due to their preliminary nature.  The goal is to provide resources to promote investigations into new systems that will provide unique information that informs and extends our ideas about how developmental processes occur and are regulated.  Graduate student, postdoctoral fellow and faculty SDB members are all eligible.  Deadlines are December 1 and May 31.  (Please note, if two grants are awarded from the December 1 deadline, then we will not be taking applications for May 31. Therefore, we strongly advise you to submit your application by the December 1 deadline).

Submission Guidelines

2017 Recipients


Maryna Lesoway Postdoc, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Advisor: Jonathan Henry

Crepidula atrasolea: A new model for sex change in a sequential hermaphrodite

Sex is a central problem of biology, yet we understand little about the evolution of discrete sexes or the development of sexual identity. Our current understanding focuses on organisms with separate sexes, while existing hermaphroditic models either do not undergo sex change, or lack tractability as developmental models. Using the sequentially hermaphroditic marine snail, Crepidula atrasolea as a model, we will examine the development of both sexes and the transition from male to female. Crepidula snails are easily maintained in lab, have a well-supported phylogeny, and well-studied and diverse early development. Direct development and a relatively rapid generation time make C. atrasolea particularly useful as a model. Using various tools including lineage tracing and functional assays, we will develop C. atrasolea as a model of sequential hermaphroditism. This will provide a useful comparison to other systems, and help us to understand the evolutionary origins of sequential hermaphroditism.

Tal Gordon
Graduate Student, Tel Aviv University
Advisor: Noa Shenkar

Polycarpa mytiligera an emerging model for Chordate regenerative studies
Regeneration mechanisms and their evolutionary modifications are among the most fascinating process in modern biology. Since vertebrates show little, if any, regenerative capacities, we aim to understand the many ways that invertebrate chordate use the same basic genetic pathway to achieve regeneration.  Due to its unique regenerative abilities and its phylogenic relationship to the vertebrate, the ascidian Polycarpa mytiligera (Order: Stolidobranchia) has the potential to become a most suitable model system for regenerative and developmental studies. The ability of P. mytiligera to regenerate its neural complex, peripheral organs and eviscerated internal organs is the motivating factor for this research which aims to: 1) Define cellular processes involved in internal and peripheral organs development and regeneration; and 2) Identify genes associated with this remarkable ascidian regeneration process. The overall goal is to establish novel model systems that will allow further investigation of the cellular and genetic pathways involved in Chordate regeneration and developmental process.
Last Updated on 09/22/2017