Indiana University Bloomington
Arts and Sciences News at Indiana University Bloomington

Rendon awarded NSF DDIG

Seventh biology student to receive NSF DDIG in 2014

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nikki RendonNikki Rendon -- a graduate student in Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior in the Department of Biology -- has been awarded an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. Rendon is a member of Professor of Biology Greg Demas's lab, where she studies mechanisms underlying neuroendocrine regulation of aggressive behavior with a specific focus on same-sex aggressive behavior in the Siberian hamster (Phodopus sungorus).

Neuroendocrine mechanisms have been well studied in males; however, the processes promoting this aggressive behavior in females are poorly understood. Rendon explores whether behavioral differences among females and between the sexes are coupled with neural sensitivity to steroid hormones (e.g., testosterone), as well as neurosteroids (e.g., DHEA), specifically sulfated derivatives (e.g., DHEA-S). She combines techniques from ecology, neuroendocrinology, physiology, and molecular genetics to connect behavior to physiology.

Rendon brings the total NSF DDIGs awarded to Biology graduate students in 2014 to seven. Awarded NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants earlier this year were: Brandon Cooper (Montooth lab), Amanda Gibson (Lively lab), Rachel Hanauer (Ketterson lab), Alex Strauss (Hall lab), Brian Steidinger (Bever lab), and Laura Weingartner (Delph lab).

Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants are given by the National Science Foundation in selected areas of the biological sciences. A DDIG provides partial support of doctoral dissertation research to allow a student to improve upon an already existing project. The funding may be used to participate in scientific meetings, conduct research in specialized facilities or field settings, and expand an existing body of dissertation research.

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