AIPI Announces First Round of Collaborative Grant Awards

by | Feb 26, 2012

AIPIIn 2010, the four largest nonprofit plant science research institutions in the United States came together to form the Association of Independent Plant Research Institutes (AIPI). Leaders from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (Ithaca, NY), the Department of Plant Biology at the Carnegie Institution for Science (Stanford, CA), the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (St. Louis, MO), and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation (Ardmore, OK) formed AIPI to accelerate scientific innovation and the application of fundamental plant research. The group has begun working as a united front to look for answers in plant science to solve some of the most profound challenges facing our global society.

One important initiative instituted by AIPI was a Seed Grant Program to fund cooperative projects among scientists at the different organizations. Awards in this program occur twice a year, offering $10,000 to $50,000 grants to fund collaborative groups comprised of scientists from two or more AIPI institutions. Eligible projects include experimental programs designed to produce preliminary or proof-of-concept data or planning activities facilitating preparation of an application for future larger grants from federal agencies or other foundations.

A proposal review committee, comprised of the AIPI presidents and directors, evaluated proposals based on both the level of scientific merit and the potential for the projects to further AIPI’s position and leadership in the field of plant biology.

The proposals selected for funding in the first round of competition were:

Identification of small molecules and small RNA in the saliva of plant-feeding aphids

Submitted by Georg Jander (Boyce Thompson Institute) and Lloyd Sumner (Noble Foundation)

High throughput screening for metabolite transporters
Submitted by Richard A. Dixon (Noble Foundation), Wolf B. Frommer (Carnegie Institution for Science), Lloyd Sumner (Noble Foundation), and Patrick Zhao (Noble Foundation).

Systematic identification of a novel class of regulators of transcription factors using computational predictions and high-throughput yeast-one-hybrid assays
Submitted by Todd Mockler (Donald Danforth Plant Science Center), and Seung Yon (Sue) Rhee (Carnegie Institution for Science).

When asked to comment on the award, Georg Jander, of The Boyce Thompson Institute, replied, “The AIPI award will allow me and my colleague Lloyd Sumner (The Noble Foundation) to collaborate on an exciting new project. His mass spectrometry expertise and my lab’s experience in studying plant-insect interactions will lead to a better understanding of plant defense. This work may not have been possible without the AIPI grant support.”

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