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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Reed College has been awarded a Medical Research Foundation seed grant of $23,990 from the Oregon Health Sciences Foundation in support of professor of biology Peter J. Russell's project "Genetic Control of Replication of Yeast RNA Viruses."

Russell's research goal is to understand the genetics and molecular biology of the life cycle of RNA viruses found within protein coats in the yeast cell. Experiments supported by the award will involve working with DNA clones of the virus genomes and using those clones to initiate the virus life cycle. With such an approach, he will then be able to make specific mutations in the DNA clones and then see the mutation's effects on the life cycle of the virus.

Peter J. Russell, a professor at Reed since 1972, received his B.Sc. from the University of Sussex, England and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. In the past, Russell has supported his research with sizable grants from the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, and the American Cancer Society. He is the author of numerous journal articles and Genetics (Benjamin/Cummings), a college-level textbook now in its fifth edition. He also has made a number of contributions to the Biology Place, a web site that provides high school and college biology classroom activities and information including interactive study guides and research articles on current genetics research papers. Russell is currently working on the second edition of Fundamentals of Genetics, which is a shorter version of Genetics; Italian editions of both books were recently completed. He is also the project director on the $500,000 NSF AIRE award Reed College recently received to support an undergraduate research and peer mentorship program.

The Oregon Health Sciences Foundation created its seed money research grant program to enable new investigators to generate sufficient preliminary data to effectively compete for larger, federal grants to support research projects of the highest quality. Additionally, seed money research grants are sometimes awarded to established scientists in need of interim support. Of the scientist receiving seed money grants, 81 percent have obtained additional research funding related to their initial proposal.