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UR professor wins $278K grant from NIH

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Linda Boland, associate professor of biology at University of Richmond, a three-year, $278,682 grant to research lipid modulation of potassium channels — important to the rhythm of heart muscle and the electrical activity of brain cells.

The grant comes from NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences and includes funds for a post-doctoral fellow and several undergraduate student research assistants.

Boland studies the modulation of potassium ion channels by membrane-derived polyunsaturated fatty acids. The signals are released following certain forms of cellular communication and impact proper rhythmic firing of heart muscle and some regions of the brain — affecting memory disorders, epilepsy, pain, and cell death during stroke and heart attack.

“In the past six years, 26 Richmond students have played an integral role in research in my lab, doing the types of experiments that are typically done in a medical school setting,” said Boland. “I am fortunate that undergraduate students at Richmond have been motivated to ask and answer really hard questions how lipids derived from the cell membrane influence the electrical activity of cells. The answers to these questions have important health implications for brain and heart.”

Boland has taught at UR since 2004, after earning a Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill, completing two post-doctoral positions at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital and teaching for 10 years at the University of Minnesota Medical School.


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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