Phyllis Strauss, who is researching DNA repair in mice, and Nicole Rafter, an author, researcher and instructor in bio­log­ical the­o­ries of crime, and crime films and society, have received highly com­pet­i­tive Ful­bright Schol­ar­ships for 2009–2010, according to the Council for Inter­na­tional Exchange of Scholars, which admin­is­ters the program.

Cur­rently ful­filling her four-​​month Ful­bright grant in India at the Banaras Hindu Uni­ver­sity (BHU) in Varanasi, Strauss is researching DNA repair of the cell’s genetic mate­rial during the ear­liest stages of embryo devel­op­ment in mice.

She applied for the Ful­bright at BHU because its research emphasis in DNA repair relates closely to her work at North­eastern, she said.

Strauss uses zebra fish to ana­lyze the role of a cell pro­tein, called AP endonu­clease, in the early stages of an embryo. At BHU, she hopes to dis­cover whether her find­ings with the fish hold true with mice.

It’s the first stop in asking if this (finding) is impor­tant to human devel­op­ment,” she said.

One even­tual out­come of her research, she says, would be to make it more pos­sible for doc­tors to pre­dict which embryos would be suc­cessful before they are implanted in humans during in vitro fertilization.

If people could pre­dict which embryos would be suc­cessful, we wouldn’t need to implant so many embryos,” cut­ting down on the like­li­hood of haz­ardous mul­tiple preg­nan­cies and births, she said.

Rafter, who recently won a life­time achieve­ment award from the Amer­ican Society of Crim­i­nology, leaves in sev­eral months for her Ful­bright project at the Johannes Kepler Uni­ver­sity, in Linz, Aus­tria. She will teach two grad­uate courses, which are also offered at Northeastern¬—crime films and society and bio­log­ical the­o­ries of crime—and will finish research on a new book, “Crim­i­nology Goes to the Movies.”

A col­league at the Aus­trian uni­ver­sity, another crim­i­nology his­to­rian, asked Rafter to apply for the schol­ar­ship so she could teach there, she said. “I am very pleased,” said Rafter, “because it gives me an oppor­tu­nity to work with an impor­tant scholar who has sim­ilar interests.