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Damon Runyon grants prestigious fellowship awards to 17 top young scientists
Date:7/9/2013

or Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD, at the University of California, San Francisco, California, studies the molecular basis of how cancer cells maintain the ability to divide indefinitely. In most human cancers, an enzyme named telomerase is crucial in maintaining chromosomal ends (or telomeres) to achieve immortality. She is exploring a novel mechanism for telomere maintenance, which could advance the development of improved therapeutics for glioblastoma and other cancers.

Michael A. Cianfrocco, PhD [HHMI Fellow] with his sponsors Andres Leschziner, PhD, and Samara L. Reck-Peterson, PhD, at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, studies proteins called dynactin and dynein that function to transport organelles within the cell, a process that is particularly important during cell division. He aims to elucidate the structural basis for dynactin's ability to regulate dynein activity. Since many viruses, including cancer-causing oncoviruses, require dynein to be transported from the cell membrane to the nucleus for genome replication, understanding the molecular details of dynein-dynactin function may provide novel targets for cancer therapies.

Justin M. Crest, PhD, with his sponsor David Bilder, PhD, at the University of California, Berkeley, California, is studying the mechanical forces between cells and their underlying substrate, or extracellular matrix (ECM). The physical properties of cells and the ECM shape tissues during development and are critical for malignant tumor progression and metastasis. His research will determine which molecules generate and balance the mechanical forces involved in migration and tissue formation and thus identify novel mechanisms of malignancy.

Mary Williard Elting, PhD, with her sponsor Sophie Dumont, PhD, at the University of California, San Francisco, California, studies the mechanics of cell division, with the goal of understanding how cells accurately transmit one copy of their genetic information
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Contact: Yung S. Lie
yung.lie@damonrunyon.org
212-455-0521
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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