Two from Hughes

Two University faculty performing research in genetics were among 48 scientists in the nation named Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators last month, an honor that will give them long-term funding for their research and pay their salaries while allowing them to remain on the faculty.

Nancy Bonini, Ph.D., whose research has the potential of leading to cures for Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, is looking for suppressor genes in fruit flies that slow or stop the advance of these kinds of diseases.

The money, said Bonini, an asssistant professor of biology, will speed the work. “We can’t be fast enough,” she said.

Gregory D. Van Duyne, Ph.D., is exploring how the enzyme Cre recombinase allows viruses to integrate their genomes into their hosts, information that would be helpful in creating transgenic animals used, for example, in exploring the role of genes in diseases. “It’s a tool in arranging DNA molecules,” said Van Duyne, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics.


Originally published on June 1, 2000