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Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards prestigious fellowships to 18 top young scientists

formation in zebrafish. Her focus is on hepatic stellate cells, support cells that surround both normal liver tissue and liver tumors. She hopes to improve our understanding of how these cells influence liver cancer, including ways by which hepatic stellate cells might promote formation of liver tumors and/or lead to more aggressive tumor behavior.

Christopher J. Hale, PhD [HHMI Fellow] with his sponsor Steven E. Jacobsen, PhD, at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, is focusing on the basic biological processes that allow cells to coordinate the replication of their genes with the regulation of when those genes are turned on/off. By studying the interplay of these two biological processes, he hopes to elucidate how tumor cells are able to bypass the strict controls that a cell uses to normally operate each process.

Daniel A. Heller, PhD, with his sponsor Robert S. Langer, ScD, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, is developing a method to direct gene therapies to cancerous tissues. He is synthesizing polymer nanoparticles that can target tumors using specific receptors on their surface.

David G. Hendrickson, PhD, with his sponsor John L. Rinn, PhD, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, aims to identify and describe RNA molecules called lincRNAs that may regulate how cancer cells read genetic information. Defining the roles of lincRNAs in cancer could open new avenues for more accurate diagnostics and effective therapeutics.

Sujun Hua, PhD, with his sponsor Ronald A. DePinho, MD, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, aims to complete a comprehensive, genome-wide assessment of regulatory networks governing self-renewal and fate-determination programs in normal and malignant neural stem cells. Tumor progression of certain tumor types, including glioblastoma, depends on a subpopulation of cells within the tumor called tumor stem cells.

Contact: Yung S. Lie, PhD
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation

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