Halanych and Kocot receive grant from NASA

29 Jul

Kenneth Halanych, the Stewart W. Schneller Endowed Chair, and postdoctoral scholar Kevin Kocot, both in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, received a four-year, $810,829 grant from NASA for research into the evolution of multicellular organisms.

The grant is titled “Elucidating the early evolution of metazoans.” With the funding, Halanych and Kocot will utilize a genomic approach to better understand the origins and early history of animals. Kocot was recently named one of the Graduate School’s Distinguished Dissertation Award winners for the 2012-13 academic year. 

The team will focus on extant animal lineages that branched off near the base of the animal tree, including sponges; cnidarians such as anemones and jellies; ctenophores including comb jellies; and placozoans which are microscopic, sponge-like animals. The researchers will sequence at least 12 genomes and 30 transcriptomes of basal animal groups.

For more information on the project, go to the Halanych Lab website.

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