June 7, 2017

Postdoc Challenge winners at Purdue awarded $5,000 for breast cancer and lung cancer treatment research

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Two Purdue University postdoctoral researchers have been awarded $5,000 Postdoc Challenge grants from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute to fund projects to improve treatment of triple negative breast cancer and improve treatment of brain metastasis of lung cancer.

Shirisha Chittiboyina, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, won the award for her project, “To identify the role of NuMA in triple negative breast cancer invasion and drug resistance;” and Gozde Uzunalli, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology, won the award for her project, “Pathologic characterization of the blood-tumor barrier in brain metastasis of lung cancer.”

Indiana CTSI awarded seven $5,000 Postdoc Challenge grants for a total of $35,000 in funding to postdoctoral researchers from Purdue, Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.

The Postdoc Challenge grants are awarded for projects to use Indiana CTSI Core Facilities to translate lab research into human patient treatment through the development of clinical trials and studies or research aimed at enhancing adoption of best practices.

Chittiboyina will use the Agricultural Genomic Center Core Facility to identify potential gene targets that can reverse aggressiveness and chemoresistance due to low levels of NuMA, a structural protein and chromatin organizer, in triple negative breast cancer. Chittiboyina works in the laboratory of Sophie A. Lelièvre, professor of cancer pharmacology in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences.

Uzunalli will use the Histology Research Laboratory Core Facility to characterize structural changes in the brain as a result of brain metastasis of lung cancer to identify effective targets for treatment. Uzunalli works in the laboratory of Tiffany Lyle, assistant professor of veterinary anatomic pathology in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology.

Applications for Postdoc Challenge grants were reviewed and ranked by a committee of faculty and postdoctoral researchers. The final selection and funding recommendations were made by the Indiana CTSI Executive Committee.

Additional 2016-2017 Postdoc Challenge grant awardees include:

* Alexander Lakhter of IU School of Medicine for “Identification of β-cell-derived extracellular vesicle surface peptides.”

* Elsa Mevel of IU School of Medicine for “CaMKK2 as a target for osteoarthritis.”

* William Kenkel of IU, Bloomington for “Developmental consequences of maternal oxytocin exposure at birth.”

* R. Taylor Raborn of IU, Bloomington for “Efficient next-generation promoter profiling in human tissues.”

* Phillip McCown of the University of Notre Dame for “Molecular basis of RNA recognition by METTL16, a human Methyltransferase.” 

Writer: Kelsey Schnieders, kschnied@purdue.edu

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