Davis cancer researchers receive seed grants
researchers at UC Davis have received Institutional Research Grants
for a range of cancer-related projects.
grants of up to $20,000 are designed to encourage junior faculty
to study the causes and cures of cancer as well as psychosocial
issues associated with cancer screening and treatment. Faculty researchers
use the results of these studies to develop competitive proposals
for national funding.
grants are funded by the UC Davis Institutional Research Grant Committee,
which receives money from the American Cancer Society with matching
funds from the Dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine. David R.
Gandara, M.D, the cancer center's associate director for clinical
research, is principal investigator.
for the fifth year of the program were as follows:
Burgess, an assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology.
Her project aims to understand how cells detect and respond to DNA
damage. She is especially interested in the role of checkpoint genes
such as ATM which, when damaged, causes ataxia telangiectasia, a
rare childhood neurologic disorder that predisposes its sufferers
Kaplan, an assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology.
Kaplan will study how genetic information is lost in colorectal
tumor cells by analyzing signal transduction pathways in the checkpoint
proteins Bub1 and Bub3.
London, an assistant professor of veterinary medical oncology. London
received funding to study the biological consequences of mutations
in the proto-oncogene c-kit in canine mast cell tumors. This tumor
(a form of skin cancer) is the most common malignancy in dogs. She
previously identified mutations in c-kit that led to constitutive
activation of the resultant protein. Similar mutations in c-kit
have been identified in several different human malignancies. (For
more about London's research, see First
Steps: The truth about cats and dogs).
Smit McBride, assistant professor of molecular biology. McBride
is interested in how over-expression of individual subunits of the
protein complex known as eIF3 contributes to prostate cancer. McBride's
hypothesis is that disregulation of eIF3 not only leads to abnormal
cell growth but it may also cause prostate cancer to not need testosterone
to grow. This type of prostate cancer, known as androgen-resistant
or hormone-refractory prostate cancer, is the most dangerous type
of the disease.
Mitchell, an assistant professor of environmental toxicology. Mitchell
received funding to study how a class of phytochemicals known as
procyanidins help prevent cancer. Procyanidins are a subclass of
flavenoids, antioxidant chemical compounds found in fruits and vegetables
that are thought to help the body defend itself against cancerous
changes in the cells. Procyanidins are found in apples, barley,
tea, grapes, cocoa, wine and strawberries.
recipients will be honored at a reception hosted by the American
Cancer Society and the UC Davis Cancer Center later this spring.
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