SDB Innovation Grant

The Society for Developmental Biology Innovation Grant was established in 2016 to provide seed funds for those seeking to develop innovative tools and methods with the potential to have a broad impact on the developmental biology community. This work can include devices, software, novel methods, or new reagents, but is not intended to support training or the application of existing technologies. Projects that would not necessarily be supported through other means are given preference.  Graduate student, postdoctoral fellow and full SDB members are all eligible.  Deadlines are December 1 and July 1.  (Please note, if two grants are awarded from the December 1 deadline, then we will not be taking applications for July 1. 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.

Submission Guidelines

2019 Recipients

Recipient Project

Priya Sivaramakrishnan
Postdoctoral Fellow,
University of Pennsylvania
Advisor: John Isaac Murray

A single cell ‘recent’ RNA-sequencing method to characterize the dynamic embryonic transcriptome
Rapid transcriptional changes are a characteristic feature of all developing systems that need to respond quickly to environmental and signaling cues. Temporal transcription patterns that drive embryonic cell fates are particularly hard to study due to their transient and dynamic nature. Single cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) estimates transcript levels in individual embryonic cells but provides only a snapshot of gene expression at a given time. Our goal is to combine metabolic labeling of mRNAs with scRNA-seq to specifically enrich for ‘recent’ transcription events to capture genome-wide transcription activities during embryogenesis. The rapid and invariant development of the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo provides an ideal system to perform temporal transcription measurements and study transcription kinetics in single cells. Our approach will be used to determine how specific transcription patterns translate into cell identities and can be applied to diverse organisms to characterize dynamic transcriptomes and quantify transcriptional responses to developmental perturbations.

Katherine Harding
Graduate Student,
Harvard Medical School
Advisor: Kristin White

Developing EI-SPI: A modular dCas9-based method for visualizing chromatin interactions in vivo
Transcriptional regulation of development is directed by dynamic interactions between genes and regulatory elements. The mechanisms by which these interactions are initiated and how they change across developmental time and space are therefore fundamental to understanding how organisms are formed. We study the programmed cell death of neural stem cells in the Drosophila embryo to determine how multiple cell death genes are activated by a nearby enhancer in an exquisite pattern, leading to specific gene expression in the right cell type at the right time and location during development. The stereotypical pattern of cell death and well-defined regulatory elements in this system presents an ideal model for studying enhancer-promoter interactions and their biological functions. We aim to develop a dCas9-based system for imaging chromatin interactions between loci in vivo, allowing visualization of endogenous enhancer-promoter contacts within individual cell types in intact tissues.

Last Updated on 05/21/2020