Cutting edge: KSU scientists exploring new frontiers, research in developmental biology (Marietta Daily Journal)

KENNESAW, Ga. | Mar 16, 2017

Two Kennesaw State University scientists have received a total of $737,364 in National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health grants for developmental biology research into autism and birth defects.

The National Institutes of Health awarded Martin Hudson, an associate professor of biology in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, a grant of $378,561 to research how neuron shape affects function and behavior in the nervous system. The research could have ramifications for autism and many other neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.

Marcus C. Davis, associate dean for research and associate professor of biology, received a grant for $358,803 from the National Science Foundation for research demonstrating that common genes form fish fins and human hands, results that ultimately could lead to eradicating limb birth defects and — in the future — allow humans to regrow limbs.

“Martin Hudson and Marcus Davis have been doing cutting-edge developmental biology research at Kennesaw State for years,” said Jonathan L. McMurry, associate vice president for research and professor of biochemistry. “This success is a recognition of their excellence and underscores our emergence as a research university and burgeons our growing portfolio of federal research grants. We now have 22 NSF and seven NIH grants.”

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit