NSF Grant Funds Research on Evolution of Social Cooperation
$697K Grant for Studying Cheating Behaviors in the Amoeba Dictyostelium Discoideum
Elizabeth Ostrowski, assistant professor of biology and biochemistry at the University of Houston, was awarded a four-year, $696,634 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the evolution of cheating behaviors.
She will conduct her research using the model organism Dictyostelium discoideum, Dicty for short, which is a soil amoeba. During times of famine, Dicty amoebae aggregate into a multicellular organism capable of moving, developing and releasing spores.
“My research asks how organisms can work together as a community, even when only some individuals stand to benefit from this cooperation,” said Ostrowski, who joined the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics as a faculty member in 2011.