Associate Professor Jennifer Armstrong Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

Claremont, Calif. (October 21, 2010) — Associate Professor Jennifer Armstrong from The Joint Science Department received a three year $442,052 National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant entitled “Investigations into the role of the CHD1 ATPase in chromosome structure in Drosophila NSF.”

The grant funds Armstrong’s research on how the structures of chromosomes are formed and maintained. She’s found that chromosomes appear to fall apart if the cell lacks a specific protein called CHD1 in fruit flies, but CHD1 is also conserved in humans. In humans, there are nine CHD proteins and loss of some of these CHD proteins can lead to specific diseases and cancers. Armstrong uses fruit flies to understand the normal function of these proteins.

“Since less than 10% of grants are funded in my area of research, I was thrilled and honored to be chosen,” said Armstrong.

The Joint Science Department is a program of Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College and Scripps College.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year 2010, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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About the W.M. Keck Science Department

The W.M. Keck Science Department is the interdisciplinary home to all biology, chemistry, and physics faculty for Pitzer, Claremont McKenna and Scripps colleges. The department is administered cooperatively and is housed within an 81,000-square-foot center located at the intersection of the three colleges. The department offers 13 discrete degree options, including dual-degree programs in partnership with schools of engineering and majors in conjunction with disciplines outside the sciences. The W.M. Keck Science Department provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary instruction in small class settings and numerous opportunities for students to conduct research.

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