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Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation grants prestigious awards to 17 young scientists
Date:1/28/2013

out how nutrient sensing affects stem cell maintenance and tumorigenesis.

Evgenia N. Nikolova, PhD [Robert Black Fellow] with her sponsor Peter E. Wright, PhD, at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, aims to elucidate the molecular mechanism of gene silencing mediated by the protein Kaiso. Previous studies suggest that Kaiso acts as a tumor suppressor gene that can block cells from progressing to cancer; irregular Kaiso function is linked to cancer cell proliferation in a number of human cancers including colon, prostate, breast and lung cancers, as well as leukemia.

Summer B. Thyme, PhD [HHMI Fellow] with her sponsor Alexander F. Schier, PhD, at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, is engineering protein tools to alter epigenetic modifications in important developmental pathways in a zebrafish model. Epigenetic misregulation, particularly of key regulators of cell fate specification, underlies a vast number of cancers. These tools could be applied to reprogram cell fate, as a means of treating epigenetically mediated diseases such as cancer.

Ozlem Yildirim, PhD [HHMI Fellow] with her sponsor Robert E. Kingston, PhD, at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, aims to identify factors that maintain cellular identity during mammalian cell proliferation. This will shed light on how cells remember which cell type they were and should become after division. A mechanistic understanding of this process will yield new insights into the many cell fate changes cancer cells display during their abnormal growth.

Dmitriy Zamarin, MD, PhD [Dr. Bart A. Kamen Morphotek Fellow] with his sponsor Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, is studying oncolytic viruses, a class of promising emerging cancer therapeutics. Oncolytic viruses can efficiently and specifically lyse cancer cells; they also induce important tumor-specific immune responses. He is exploring
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Contact: Yung S. Lie, PhD
yung.lie@damonrunyon.org
212-455-0521
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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