Pauline Schaap, Professor of Developmental Signalling at the College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee has been honoured twice this month for her contribution to the field of Cell and Developmental Biology.
Earlier in March, the Wellcome Trust awarded Professor Schaap a prestigious Senior Investigator Award for her research into molecular mechanisms of encystation and sporulation.Senior Investigator Awards provide funding for scientists who have an excellent track record and are in an established academic post, offering them the flexibility and time to enable them to tackle the most important questions in their field.
This week (19 March, 2013) Professor Schaap was also named a new Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's National Academy; RSE Fellows are elected in recognition of “excellent and active careers with a clear and continuing connection with Scotland.”
Professor Schaap studies the genetically tractable Dictyostelid social amoebas. These have a sporulation phase in their life-cycle which is evolutionarily derived from encystation - a survival strategy of many protists, which in case of protist pathogens causes problems, as cysts are resistant to immune clearance, antibiotics and biocides. As a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, Professor Schaap will use a Dictyostelid model to investigate the signalling pathways of encystation and explore whether crucial regulatory proteins in these pathways might be suitable targets for the design of drugs to inhibit encystation.
Professor Schaap said I am very pleased with both honours,which first and foremost reflect the hard work, excellenceand dedication of members of my team. The Investigator Award combined with the outstandingresearch environment in Dundee provide us with averyexciting opportunity to translate our fundamental research in Dictyostelium into improved treatment for some protist borne diseases.”