A University of Idaho project examining changes in the amino acids that are the building blocks of life and how they lead to changes in living things has been awarded a $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
The grant was awarded to Associate Prof. F. Marty Ytreberg in the physics department in the university’s College of Science. It is among eight projects awarded $41.7 million through the NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program.
Ytreberg’s project, “Using biophysical protein models to map genetic variation to phenotypes,” will use computer simulations, mathematical modeling and experiments to determine how amino acid changes modify the way that proteins interact with other molecules.
“It will provide resources that lead to advances in science and technology, support the development of early and mid-career faculty, train students and postdoctoral associates and educate the general public,” Ytreberg said. “This research grew out of projects supported by the Center for Modeling Complex Interactions at UI.”
The project is part of the National Science Foundation’s goal to understand the relationship in organisms between genetic material, or genotypes, and their physical characteristics as a result of gene expression and environmental influences, or phenotypes. Ytreberg will collaborate on the project with researchers from Idaho, Rhode Island and Vermont.