Developmental biologist receives NSF grant

KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 26, 2021

Kennesaw State University professor Anton Bryantsev has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study organization of the cell nucleus.

Anton Bryantsev
Anton Bryantsev
The grant, more than $400,000 over three years, will help fund Bryantsev’s research focused on making gene manipulations safer and more efficient while also examining how proteins concentrate in isolated bodies within the nucleus of a cell.

“This grant is the culmination of years of preparative work, as well as of the support of my colleagues and administration,” said Bryantsev, an assistant professor of developmental biology in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. “The College of Science and Mathematics provided a seed grant for me to obtain preliminary data, and the Summer Research Fellows program gave me the time to work on my grant proposal. This support, plus the work of the students in my lab, pushed my ideas to success.”

Bryantsev said his lab’s work sheds light on the regulation of nuclear proteins, which has implications for modifying genomes and changing the traits of cells and organisms. He said his laboratory seeks to influence nuclear processes for research and biotechnological needs.

“There is a need in biotechnology to go into the nucleus where we want to change the traits and behavior of cells,” he said. “Surprisingly, with all the recent advancements in biotechnology, scientists don’t really have a comprehensive picture of how proteins get sorted inside the nucleus. Hopefully, through our experiments, we will get some insights about this aspect of nuclear functioning to make biotechnology techniques safer, reproduceable and more efficient.”

Bryantsev, who credits undergraduate and graduate student researchers for helping him on this project, said that funds from the grant will expand opportunities for student involvement.

“The role of students in my lab cannot be understated,” he said. “We have a very good cohort of students genuinely interested in research, trying to figure out what’s going on inside cells. We’re building their skills and they use those abilities, along with their enthusiasm and energy, to do research that produces cool results. They are truly the driving force within in my lab.”

The grant was funded through an NSF program called Facilitating Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (RUI). This funding opportunity’s objective is to engage RUI faculty members in their professional fields, build capacity for research at their institutions, and support the engagement of undergraduate researchers. The RUI program is open to predominantly undergraduate institutions that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in NSF-supported fields, who have awarded 20 or fewer doctoral degrees in all NSF-supported fields during the combined previous two academic years.

Bryantsev’s application was a result of his participation in the 2020 Summer Research Fellows program, an initiative developed by Kennesaw State’s Office of Research to support faculty in their pursuit of external research funding, especially opportunities involving undergraduate researchers.

The grant started February 1 and will end January 31, 2024.

– Dave Shelles

Photos by David Caselli

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