Jefferson Scientist Receives Awards From Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Beckman Foundation
Charles M. Brenner, PhD, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Jefferson Medical College (JMC) and a member of Jeffersons Kimmel Cancer Center, recently received a New Investigator Award in the Basic Pharmacological Sciences from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. He also received a Beckman Young Investigator Award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.
The awards of $195,000 over three years from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and $200,000 over two years from the Beckman Foundation will help advance Dr. Brenners research into defining drug targets for cancers caused by damage to tumor suppressor genes, which normally protect cells against cancer. Dr. Brenner believes that in the next two decades, oncologists and scientists will be able to ascertain which genetic changes cause specific cancers, and then develop drugs to combat the results of the genetic damage.
We are proud that the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Beckman Foundation have recognized the importance of Dr. Brenners research, said Joseph S. Gonnella, MD, Dean, JMC. This type of support is very significant, particularly to a young investigator, and is greatly appreciated.
To identify drug targets, Dr. Brenner and his colleagues have developed a yeast model system for tumors with missing genetic information. They are studying the yeast version, HNT2, of the human tumor suppressor FHIT, a gene cloned previously by Jefferson scientists Kay Huebner, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, JMC, and Carlo Croce, MD, Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Immunology, JMC, and Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center. Since yeast cells are viable without HNT2, Dr. Brenner and his group are investigating whether mutations in any other yeast genes affect the viability of HNT2-mutant yeast cells. If they can find genes that when inactivated do not kill cells, but do so only when the cells also lack HNT2, such genes and their products might serve as targets for a specific cancer drug.
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private foundation established to advance the medical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities. The Funds New Investigator Award identifies and encourages the development of talented scientists early in their careers who will bring new ways of thinking and novel experimental approaches to pharmacology.
The Beckman Foundation makes grants to non-profit research institutions to promote research in chemistry and the life sciences, broadly interpreted, and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science. Since 1991, the Foundation has awarded 112 Beckman Young Investigator Program awards totaling $21 million to young scientists.
Visit The Jefferson 2000 Fund website at http://www.tju.edu/jeffgiving/