Sara Palmer, an IDP graduate student in the college’s Department of Oral Biology, recently received an Individual Pre-doctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA) grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). The grant covers most of her stipend through May 2010.
Palmer is originally from Jackson, Mich., where she earned an associates in science degree from Jackson Community College in 2002. She then went on to Michigan State University and earned a bachelors in Microbiology in 2005. Palmer began graduate school in fall 2005 in the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Science at the UF College of Medicine and joined the College of Dentistry in May 2006 and has since worked on her current project.
Palmer’s project, “Roles of Streptococcus mutans YidC1 and YidC2 in membrane biogenesis,” looks at the involvement of YidC1 and YidC2 in the process of protein insertion into the membrane of the cariogenic bacteria Streptococcus mutans.
“I am interested in this process because the YidC family of proteins in conserved in all domains of life, including bacteria, archaea and organelles of eukaryotic cells such as chloroplasts and mitochondria. I find is fascinating that in S. mutans the universally conserved Signal Recognition Particle (SRP) pathway, which targets proteins co-translationally to the membrane, is dispensable. We believe that the YidC2 protein may serve as a back up mechanism for the SRP pathway,” said Palmer.
Palmer plans to pursue a career in academia when she finishes her Ph.D. It is her long term career goal to become a professor, so she can continue research and also teach.