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Duke stem cell biologist wins 3 major awards in 1 month
Date:9/22/2008

t to do," Kuo said. "One thing I have always wanted to do is science that could lead to therapeutic solutions for patients suffering from brain injuries after trauma and stroke."

The NIH award goes to "highly creative researchers (who) are tackling important scientific challenges with bold ideas and inventive technologies that promise to break through barriers and radically shift our understanding," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., who will announce the awards on Sept. 22.

Kuo also won a Distinguished Scientist Award from the Sontag Foundation for his research into brain tumor development. This prestigious award is $600,000 over a four-year period, beginning October 1, 2008. "Stem cells hold tremendous therapeutic promise, but stem cells behaving badly can have grave consequences," said Kuo. Tumors in the brain are often deadly, but where these tumor cells come from is poorly understood. Kuo and colleagues are planning experiments to investigate how mutations in neural stem cells can give rise to brain tumors, and how destroying these cancer-causing stem cells may result in successful therapy. Only two Sontag Distinguished Scientist Awards were given this year.

"These awards reflect the vibrant and exciting atmosphere at Duke as a place to conduct the best stem cell research, both to realize the potential for therapy and as a target for cancer treatments," Kuo said.

Third, Kuo received a Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering Award from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Aimed at supporting unusually creative researchers early in their careers, the fellowship provides $875,000 over five years. With these funds, the Kuo laboratory and collaborators will engineer a chemical screening platform that will give scientists powerful new tools to understand the architectural blueprints of how stem cell environments are constructed, "which will give us new ways to look at biological problems," Kuo said. "This award will
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Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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