Mutatis mutandis: assistant professor Sarah Schaack [biology 2011–] nabs NSF grant for work on genetic mutation.

Mutatis mutandis: assistant professor Sarah Schaack [biology 2011–] nabs NSF grant for work on genetic mutation.

Reed Community

Professors’ Corner

June 1, 2012

Schaack Wins $1m NSF Grant

Assistant professor Sarah Schaack [biology 2011–] has been awarded $986,000 by the National Science Foundation. Schaack received the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program grant, the foundation’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty. The CAREER Program rewards teacher-scholars who exemplify the role of mentor through outstanding research and their ability to integrate pedagogy and research.

The grant will support Schaack’s research on the genetics of mutation. Mutations, ultimately, are the source of all genetic variation; Schaack’s lab focuses on understanding the rate at which they occur and their effects on organisms in various environments.  She specializes in the study of mutations brought about by pieces of mobile DNA, also referred to as transposable elements, which compose the bulk of the genome for many organisms and are a major source of genetic variation.

Schaack’s project will bring together scholars across the academic spectrum. Her basic research will involve Reed students, postdoctoral researchers, and national and international peers. In the classroom, hands-on laboratory exercises will help Reedies gain experience with expanding bioinformatic and genomic resources to answer real, ongoing questions in biology.

Schaack’s work on mobile DNA, mutation, and the evolution of the genome has been published in scientific journals, such as Science and Nature. She has a BA in biology from Earlham College, an MA in zoology from University of Florida, Gainesville, and a PhD in biology from Indiana University.

GhaneaBassiri wins Guggenheim

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri [religion 2002–] won a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship to examine mosques as historical sites of the material culture of Islamic beliefs and practices. GhaneaBassiri’s most recent book is A History of Islam in America: From the New World to the New World Order. He was named a Carnegie Scholar in 2006 and is currently a national scholar for the National Endowment for Humanities’ Bridging Cultures project on “Muslim Journeys.” Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of impressive achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

Miller wins Graves Award

Mary Ashburn Miller [history 2008–] won a Graves Award administered by Pomona College to recognize “outstanding accomplishment in actual teaching in the humanities by younger faculty members.” It will be used to support her sabbatical next year.

Darius Rejali

[political science 1989–] won an award from the U.S. Institute of Peace to study how best to prevent the use of torture in military conflicts.

Leibman wins Fulbright

Laura Leibman [English 1995–] won a Senior Scholar in American Studies Fulbright Award to trace the theme of tradition and innovation, particularly between the Netherlands and the American colonies, at the Utrecht University. Her project will examine the traditions colonial Jews brought with them from the Netherlands and other European countries and the cultural and religious innovations they made while in the Americas. While at Utrecht, she will be completing Jews in the Americas, 1621-1826, a series she is coediting with Michael Hoberman ’86.

Alan Shusterman

[chemistry 1989–] was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for “introducing computational chemistry into undergraduate organic chemistry courses and for the use of quantum chemical calculations for quantitative structure activity relationships.”

Tags: Professors, Awards & Achievements, Cool Projects, Research