Raymond Receives $113,000 NIH Grant To Support Cell Cycle Regulation Research

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.--Wendy Raymond, assistant professor of biology, has received a three-year, $113,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study cell division regulation in yeast.

This line of research, stemming directly from mutants discovered in Raymond's 1997 winter study class, demonstrates the minimal boundaries that can exist between teaching and research at Williams. Raymond created her winter study class in research on molecular genetics in response to comments from students disappointed about research opportunities during the January term in biology.

"I saw a lot of biology students signing up to do research in chemistry, and thought we should have a similar course offering," Raymond said.

The winter study class consisted of nine students, all sophomores, who spent January 1997 isolating and characterizing suppressers of two genes involved in cell-cycle regulation. The course is purposely designed to give younger students what may be their first laboratory research experience; the findings were serendipitous.

"I intended the course to be a learning experience," Raymond explained. "That the course was also successful scientifically was beyond my wildest dreams."

Raymond studies single cellular organisms to isolate mutant cells which are defective in normal cell-cycle regulation. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as baker's yeast, has proven to be the most effective medium for performing these experiments with mutant cells. Her NIH grant will support work that specifically addresses, through genetic and molecular approaches, the role that CDC-14, a cell division cycle gene required for the completion of telophase, plays in exit from mitosis.

Raymond feels that teaching and research are related in more than the very direct student contribution mentioned above. "I am truly convinced that the best teachers are doing research and vice-versa," Raymond asserted. "The types of critical thought that o

Contact: Jo Procter
Williams College

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