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W&L’s Kyle Friend awarded for stem cell research

Kyle_FriendKyle Friend, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Washington and Lee University, received a $100,000 grant from the Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research. This was a competitive undertaking and W&L was funded for both proposals that were submitted.

Friend’s research project uses embryonic stem cells from mice to understand how genes are regulated as the stem cells begin to differentiate into neurons or heart cells. Friend and his team are using cell biology, biochemistry and computational tools to study this process.

“Kyle’s research extends into the smallest chemical details of how a stem cell is able to change from a generic cell into the wide range of body tissues such as nerves and heart muscles,” said Steve Desjardins, professor of chemistry and department head. “This grant will not only support the physical needs of this research but will also enable W&L students to participate in this project and learn how science works.”

Friend has a B.S. in biochemistry from Ohio State University (2000), NIH Post-baccalaureate IRTA from the National Institute of Health (2001), a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University (2001-07), and five years of combined post doctorate research at both Yale and the University of Wisconsin.

The grant is for a one-year period and will support four undergraduates working next summer on the project.


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The Jeffress Trust Program provides $100,000 awards as start-up funding to support one-year pilot studies that influence the development of innovative interdisciplinary strategies that integrate computational and quantitative scientific methodologies across a broad range of scientific disciplines.

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