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The Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations: The Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations works in partnership with Skidmore College's faculty, administration, alumni and friends to secure external funding from national, regional and local foundations and corporations for campus priorities and programs. The work that we do helps the College to offer new and innovative programs, support faculty-driven initiatives, expand the curriculum, enhance the physical plant and improve the quality of life for our community.

Office of Sponsored Research: The mission of the Office of Sponsored Research is to provide faculty members with the support and resources needed to fund and manage their creative, scholarly, and research endeavors. The Office provides high-quality services to the Skidmore community with the goal of increasing externally sponsored funding for individual faculty research while also ensuring compliance with College and sponsor policies and regulations.

AWARD HIGHLIGHT: Glucan Phosphatases and Regulation of Transitory Starch Metabolism

The goal of this NSF-funded research (Principal Investigator: Dr. Madushi Raththagala) is to understand how starch breakdown in plants is regulated at the protein level. Starch is the major carbon storage form of plants, a main source of calories in the human diet, and an important raw material for various industrial applications. Despite the importance of starch in biological systems and in human society, our understanding of the regulation of starch metabolism is surprisingly limited and far from complete. Transitory starch, a primary product of photosynthesis, accumulates in plant leaves during the day, and is degraded at night to provide energy for cellular activities and plant growth. Starch degradation is a complex process that requires the combined activity of several protein families including glucan phosphatases, glucan dikinases, and amylases. However, there are many unanswered questions regarding how these proteins specifically contribute to starch degradation. This research project will investigate the role that glucan phosphatases play in initiating and regulating transitory starch degradation. A complete understanding of the molecular events that control starch degradation is necessary to define novel strategies to improve starch yields in crops, a raw material for biofuel and various industrial and agricultural applications. Undergraduate researchers working on this project, some of whom will be from underrepresented and minority populations, will be provided the opportunity to engage in structural biochemistry and metabolomics research, travel to national conferences to present their work, and collaborate closely with experts in the field. Thus, this project will provide mentorship and training for the next generation of scientists and help retain both underserved and underrepresented students in the sciences. This research will also contribute to biochemistry undergraduate education through the design of a project-based laboratory course. Overall, the project represents a robust combination of advancing foundational research, improving undergraduate education, and positively impacting future agricultural and industrial applications.

PROJECT Personnel Profile:      madushi raththagala


Madushi Raththagala, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Skidmore College. She earned her Doctorate in Chemistry from Michigan State University and  B.Sc (Honors)  in Biochemistry and Molecular from University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.  Before joining Skidmore College in 2017, she was a postdoctoral researcher at University of Kentucky and the  Johns Hopkins University. Madushi's research interests emphasize the general area of structural biochemistry, using biophysical and biochemical approaches to characterize proteins involved in reversible phosphorylation of carbohydrates. She is particularly interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms by which glucan phosphatase Starch Excess4 regulate starch phosphorylation in plant systems. Starch Excess4 is essential for starch degradation and its absence leads to accumulation of starch granules in plant leaves.

Madushi’s current studies focus on unraveling the mechanistic details of how glucan phosphatases contribute to the regulation of transitory starch metabolism. Focusing on specific starch engagement and activity, students in her group will employ a variety of biophysical techniques including x-ray crystallography, small angle x-ray scattering, hydrogen deuterium mass spectroscopy and differential scanning fluorimetry to study Starch Excess4. Her efforts are to remove the key gaps in knowledge in reversible starch phosphorylation with the hope of developing a new strategy to utilize starch in an industrial setting and future biofuel research.


September 2020

Fulbright Scholar Program: U.S. Scholar Program - due 9/15/20

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation: Guggenheim Fellowship - due 9/17/20

American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund - due 9/21/20

NEH: Summer Stipends - due 9/23/20

American Council of Learned Societies: Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars - due 9/25/20

NEH Humanities Connections Planning Grants - due 9/30/20

American Council of Learned Societies: ACLS Fellowships - due 9/30/20

October 2020

American Philosophical Society Franklin Research Grant - due 10/1/20

Clark Art Institute: Clark Fellowships - due 10/15/20

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation: Career Enhancement Fellowships for Junior Faculty - due 10/23/20

Rolling Deadlines

The Teagle Foundation

Bringing Theory to Practice

Henry Luce Foundation



The National Science Foundation's Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) supports fundamental research at the intersection of disciplines to uncover the emergent properties of complex living systems across the molecular, subcellular and cellular scale.  The Division welcomes proposals that incorporate theories and concepts from physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering and computer science in search of the most fundamental Rules of Life, as well as proposals that offer technological innovations to enable the multi-disciplinary research enterprise.


MCB Cluster Descriptions:

Molecular Biophysics

Cellular Dynamics and Function

Genetic Mechanisms

Systems and Synthetic Biology

Funding Opportunities Information:

To discover more information about MCB's programs, please click Programs.

For information about active MCB funding opportunities including cross-directorate and NSF-wide activities, please click Funding.



From Philanthropy News Digest, 8/25/20: "Quest Diagnostics pledges $100 million to address health disparities"

Quest Diagnostics and the Quest Diagnostics Foundation have announced a $100 million, multiyear initiative to address and reduce health disparities in underserved communities, including those impacted by COVID-19. 

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From Philanthropy News Digest, 8/24/20: "Boston University Center for Antiracist Research receives $10 million"

Boston University has announced a $10 million gift from Twitter and Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey in support of its new Center for Antiracist Research.

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From Philanthropy News Digest, 8/21/20: "Obama Foundation to resume fundraising with a focus on racial justice"

After taking a hiatus from fundraising this spring, the Obama Foundation is positioning itself to become a major philanthropic force in the fight for racial justice, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports. 

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From The Scientist, 8/20/20: "How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected Field Research"

Unable to travel to international or remote sites, some researchers are losing critical data.

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From The National Science Foundation, 8/19/20: "NSF establishes new center to study successful undergraduate STEM education practices at Historically Black Colleges and Universities"

To study and model the successful practices of HBCUs, the U.S. National Science Foundation is establishing the HBCU STEM Undergraduate Success Research Center (STEM-US), with the aim of applying these practices broadly in higher education. Data collected will help explain how the educational advocacy and social support provided by HBCUs consistently produce a greater sense of well-being, higher percentages of STEM graduates and, ultimately, STEM doctorates.

Click here to read the rest of the article.