8 Dionysis Foustoukos (top left) and Sue Rhee (top right) will study how high-pressure adapted organisms at deep-sea hydrothermal vents (above) interact with each other and the environment. They hope to better understand how environmental factors and physiology shape the evolution of the deep biosphere. Images courtesy Dionysis Foustoukos and Robin Kempster A new Venture Grant has been awarded to the Geophysical Laboratory’s Dionysis Foustoukos and Sue Rhee of the Department of Plant Biology, with colleague Costantino Vetriani of Rutgers University, for their project Deciphering Life Functions in Extreme Environments. Carnegie Science Venture Grants bring together cross-disciplinary researchers with fresh eyes to explore unusual questions. Each grant provides $100,000 support for two years and are generously supported, in part, by trustee Michael Wilson and his wife Jane and the Ambrose Monell Foundation. Foustoukos, Rhee, and Vetriani have teamed up to integrate microbial physiology, genomics, and metabolic network modeling with high-pressure and temperature experimentation to understand gene regulation in response to changing environmental conditions of microorganisms that live in the extreme environments of deep-sea hydrothermal vents without sunlight, limited nutrients, and in extreme pressure and temperature conditions. Their objective is to unravel how microorganisms interact with each other and the environment. Foustoukos’s high-pressure experimental results will be compared to genomic studies and genome databases from the Rhee lab to reconstruct the metabolic network models of these microorganisms. The team hopes to better understand how environmental factors and physiology of these organisms shape the evolution of the deep biosphere. Recipients of the Postdoctoral Innovation and Excellence (PIE) Awards are given a cash prize for their exceptionally creative approaches to science, strong mentoring, and contributing to the sense of campus community. These awards are made through nominations from the departments and are chosen by the Office of the President. Observatories’ NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow Maria Drout received the tenth such award. Drout was one of four Carnegie astronomers who, along with colleagues from U.C.-Santa Cruz, provided the first-ever glimpse of two neutron stars colliding in August 2017. She was first author on a Science paper, which measured the changing light from that merger to shed light on the origin of the heaviest elements in the universe. The discovery was widely covered by the media. Among her many outreach activities, Drout is dedicated to providing graduate students in technical and scientific fields with the communication skills that they will need throughout their careers, as evidenced by initiatives such as Astrobites.com and the Communicating Science Workshop series (ComSciCon). Her expertise in this arena was flawlessly executed during the many media interviews she conducted for the neutron star merger discovery. Drout joined the faculty in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto in September 2018. Ethan Greenblatt, a senior postdoctoral associate at the Department of Embryology, was awarded the eleventh PIE Award. Greenblatt has made a major impact on biological science, particularly with his research identifying genetic factors underlying fragile X syndrome, the most common cause of autism. Greenblatt’s research revealed that defects in the cell’s ability to create unusually large proteins was at work in the disorder. He investigated the FMR1 gene believed to be essential for controlling the last stages of the gene’s protein-making. This research required him to develop innovative methods, including adapting a protocol originally developed by former Embryology staff member Nick Ingolia. Greenblatt regularly contributes to the sense of community at the department and to the greater Baltimore community. His consistent commitment to this Carnegie trainee community has resulted in his serving on their behalf in discussions with administrative staff on different issues. He has been at Carnegie since 2012.  New Venture Grant and Postdoctoral Innovation & Excellence Awards H H H 10th & 11th Postdoctoral Innovation & Excellence Awards H H H