SDB Emerging Research Organisms Grant

The Society for Developmental Biology Emerging Research Organisms Grant (Formerly 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 Research Organisms 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). In years in which the deadline falls on a weekend, applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM (ET) of the following Monday.

*Applications will not be accepted for the May 31, 2021 deadline.

2021 Submission Guidelines

Past Recipients

2021 Recipients


Stephanie Höhn
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Cambridge, UK
Advisor: Raymond E. Goldstein
Volvox globator – A new model for cell sheet folding
The flagellated microalgal order Volvocales has been serving as a model for the evolution of multi-cellularity and cell differentiation for decades with previous studies mainly focusing on Volvox carteri. I discovered intricate sequences of cell shape changes that drive a gastrulation-like process called inversion in Volvox globator. This provides a unique opportunity to study the convergent evolution of the principles underlying cell sheet folding. However, the signalling-pathways involved in morphogenesis in Volvox are to date a complete mystery, as its embryogenesis has not been characterized at the molecular level. RNA-seq techniques will be used to generate the first cell-specific transcriptomes. The role of locally expressed genes in inversion will be explored in newly created knock-out mutants. The generated expression profiles will lay the foundation for multi-scale studies on development in the Volvocales as well as comparative studies of the cell sheet folding including higher organisms.             

Michael A. Palmer
Graduate Student, Princeton University
Advisor: Celeste M. Nelson

Single-cell RNA-sequencing of late-stage embryonic brown anole lungs to characterize developmental cell types
Non-avian reptiles constitute an important taxon for understanding the evolutionary transition away from amphibious life and the subsequent diversification of terrestrial organisms. As such, the embryonic morphogenesis of these organisms holds significant potential as a means to better understand developmental mechanisms in vertebrates and how they first arose to form the organs characteristic of a terrestrial lifestyle, such as the lung. Due to its simplicity, the anole lung is an optimal system for understanding not only lung development but general morphogenesis of epithelial sheets and hollow spheres. This project will aid in establishing the anole lung as a useful model system by generating full transcriptional profiles of the cell types present in the lungs of late-stage embryonic brown anoles through single-cell RNA-seq analysis.

Last Updated on 02/19/2021