Assistant Professor of Biology Awarded Nearly $1.8 Million Research Award by the National Institutes of Health

Potsdam, NY, Sept. 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ginger Hunter, an assistant professor of Biology at Clarkson University, has been awarded a Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health. The nearly $1.8 million grant began August 2023 and will last for five years.

The title of this funded award is “Mechanisms of cellular morphogenesis that coordinate signaling during tissue patterning.” The tissues and organs that make up the bodies of humans and other organisms are highly organized in order to function properly. Cells in these tissues usually start off unorganized, but during development become organized due to cell-cell communication events across large and small distances. Defects in cell-cell communication during patterning can lead to human disorders and disease.

The goal of the MIRA funded work is to understand how a specific type of cell structure called cytonemes are regulated and how these structures contribute to the ability of cells to coordinate their activities during patterning, using the fruit fly as a model organism.

Among the goals of the MIRA for Early Stage Investigators program include efforts “to increase the efficiency of NIGMS funding by providing investigators with greater stability and flexibility, thereby enhancing scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs”, and “enable investigators to devote more time and energy to mentoring trainees in a more stable research environment.”

This award will provide support for trainees to do research in the Hunter lab, as well as fund students to present their work at national conferences. The award abstract can be found at