Crystal Archer was recently awarded an F-31 Diversity Fellowship through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Under the mentorship of Dr. Shapiro, Crystal is researching the KCNQ potassium ion channels of cells that send electrical signals throughout the body, including the heart, nerves, and muscles. The lab is working to discover the mechanism that controls the opening and closing of these channels in the hopes that new therapies can be developed to prevent hyperexcitability, such as seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, asthma, chronic pain and hypertension.
“My KCNQ channels were overwhelmed by the excitement,” was Crystal’s first response when asked what her reaction was when being notified of her award. Moreover, she was very surprised to have been awarded the grant since this was her first submission for funding. She comments that, “Now, I’m very happy that the reviewers think this research is as important as I do, and relieved that I can keep focused on the proposed experiments instead of preparing a resubmission.”
Furthermore, Crystal values the experience she gained from preparing a submission for funding. She remarked, “Grant writing is a very critical part of graduate training, since science cannot be performed without sufficient funding. Since obtaining grants is highly competitive, a grant proposal must be the absolute best that the investigator can submit.” As a result, Crystal dedicated herself to the philosophy of “good writing is rewriting”, revising her special aims page seventeen times! Additionally, she valued the assistance she received from her graduate advisor, Dr. Mark Shapiro, the F-Troop Meetings, Dr. Linda McManus in helping her prepare her grant submission.
Congratulations Crystal Archer!