WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.--The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Daniel V. Lynch, professor of biology at Williams College, a grant of $270,000 in support of continuing studies of sphingolipid metabolism in plants.
Sphingolipids, lipid compounds present in all organisms except bacteria, are known to function as structural components in cells and as regulators of various biological processes. Little is known, however, about their role in plant growth and development.
Lynch's research explores how and where in the cell sphingolipids are produced, transported, and degraded. This project continues studies started under a previous NSF grant awarded to Lynch for 1990-93.
Ultimately, these studies could lead to advances in crop plant manipulation so that plants may better tolerate environmental stresses or be more resistant to pathogenic organisms.
Three Williams students, Pamela Bromley '98 from Colorado Springs, Colo.; Julie Cantatore '99 from Armonk, N.Y.; and Honora Englander '98 from Newton, Mass., working in Lynch's lab over the summer, have contributed significantly to this project. Many other students have contributed to this research effort in the past, and are co-authors on publications, says Lynch.
Lynch has published more than 40 articles and 20 abstracts in scientific journals such as Nature, Cryobiology, and Plant Physiology. He is chair of the department of biology, and served as chair of the biochemistry and molecular biology program in 1995-96.
Lynch received his B.Sc. in biology from University of Massachusetts at Lowell in 1979, and his Ph.D. in botany from University of Texas at Austin in 1983. Before joining the Williams faculty in 1989, Lynch was an assistant professor at Cornell University.