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Damon Runyon Fellowships Fund Cancer Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Researchers will use a total of $1.5 million in new grants from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation in a wide range of novel studies, including research into the roles of epigenetic changes and protein characteristics in cancers.

The $140,000 fellowship awards will go to 11 researchers pursuing innovative projects in basic and translational research. Among the award winners:

• Meelad Dawlaty at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research will use an award to study the significance of epigenetic alterations in brain cancer formation, particularly how epigenetic changes are involved in how glioblastomas are formed.

• Nicholas Guydosh, a fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute based at Johns Hopkins University, is studying how proteins are manufactured in cells, and how small changes in their creation can lead to defects in the proteins and may cause many types of cancer.

• Another HHMI fellow, Duncan Smith of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, is studying how the higher-order structure of DNA is transmitted when cells divide, and how flaws in the process may give rise to inappropriate gene expression and may be involved in oncogenesis.

• Tom Hartl, a post-doctoral researcher at Stanford University will study proteins called insulin-like growth factors, which are essential for normal growth during development but which and have been implicated in uncontrolled cell proliferation, which can lead to a variety of cancers.

• Harrison Gabel, a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, will use the grant to study how the dysfunction of an enzyme called ubiquitin ligase UBE3A that regulates proteins can lead to common cervical cancers and other diseases.

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