Published: Sept. 20, 2019

CU REACHCU REACH is pleased to announce that Kyle Keepers, PhD candidate in the Department of Evolutionary Biology (mentor Nolan Kane), and Raeghan Mueller, PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience (mentor Dr. Kent Hutchison), have each been awarded $5,000 to support their graduate research and training! These interdisciplinary grants were made possible through REACH Graduate Scholar Award, which is supported by private donations and the CU Center for the Integrative Study of Work.  


Mueller's research, titled "Investigating cannabinoids for reducing pain and the role of the endocannabinoid system," will use a pharmacogenetic approach to study how single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in endocannabinoid system genes influence pain symptomology in chronic pain patients after using cannabis. Naïve cannabis users with chronic pain self-select to use one of three edible products with varying ratios of THC and CBD for two weeks. The support of the award will provide the ability to determine how pain symptoms change in relation to different cannabinoids based on individuals’ genetic endocannabinoid profile. Ultimately Mueller's work will strengthen our understanding of how to promote the beneficial therapeutic effects of cannabis while mitigating adverse side effects. 


Keeper's research, titled "Improving the Cannabis sativa Assembly and Generating a Genetic Map" will explore the genetic and genomic basis of Cannabis plant material for its desirable traits in relation to industrial, medicinal, and recreational applications. The current best genomic assembly has the majority of the >800 million base pairs placed onto ten large, contiguous pieces, representing the chromosomes, as well as an additional 200 short pieces (called 'contigs') whose locations in the ten chromosomes remain to be determined. Keeper's work aims to take genomic data from a backcross breeding experiment involving 300 BC individuals to correlate genotypes on the 200 unplaced contigs with genotypes on the 10 chromosomes near the locations where they should be incorporated, thus creating the first, complete physical map of the C. sativa genome.


CU REACH is thrilled to support this exciting research! Please commend Raeghan and Kyle on their successful applications and exciting research!