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MCRF 2018 GRANT
Dr. Brock Humphries earned his B.S. in Biology at Saginaw Valley State University, and his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Michigan State University. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Radiology at the University of Michigan. His research uses a multidisciplinary approach to identify the molecular mechanisms that drive tumor recurrence and metastasis, with the goal of elucidating novel therapeutic targets for breast cancer. Please click on the following link for a description of Dr. Humphries’ research.
MCRF 2017 GRANTS
Dr. Kaitlin Basham received her PhD in Oncology Sciences at the University of Utah, and completed her B.S. in Biology with a Psychology minor at Saint Mary's College of California. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. Dr. Basham's research is aimed at determining how the loss of the ZNFR3/RNF43 genes disrupts equilibrium needed for normal cellular pathways function, and testing the efficacy of newly developed drugs to target tumors lacking these genes. Please click on the following link for a description of Dr. Basham’s research.
MCRF 2016 GRANTS
Daryl Staveness, PhD, received his B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his PhD inOrganic Chemistry from Stanford University. Dr. Staveness is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Michigan, where he is working to develop and evaluate a new building block for medicinal chemistry that will allow for the preparation of safer drugs. These efforts are a step toward reverting the stigma associated with the term “chemotherapy” into a more positive connotation that reflects the life-saving benefits of well-designed and appropriately-administered treatments. Please click on the following link for a description of Dr. Staveness’ research.
Rochelle Tiedemann, PhD, graduated from the University of North Georgia with a B.S. in Biology, and received her PhD from Agusta University. Dr. Tiedemann's studies at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, MI, will use a recently developed model system of prostate cancer progression to characterize the dynamics of epigenome reprogramming in this disease. The results of this work will help identify epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to prostate cancer and will suggest new avenues of pursuit for therapeutic interventions to correct aberrant gene regulation in this disease. Please click on the following link for a description of Dr. Tiedemann's research.
Hilary Marusak, PhD, earned her B.A. in Biology and Psychology at Kalamazoo College, and received her
MCRF 2015 GRANT
Ethan V. Abel, PhD, received his B.S. in Biology from the State University of New York at Albany in 2004, after which he worked as a research technician and later graduate student in the Department
MCRF 2014 GRANTS
Jennifer Cash, PhD, received her PhD from the University of Cincinnati. In 2012, she joined the laboratory of Dr. John Tesmer who is the Cyrus Levinthal Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Cash was very productive as a graduate student and is focused on an important opportunity for the development of therapeutic options to prevent or treat metastasis. A two-year MCRF postdoctoral fellow award will support Dr. Cash's research on Understanding Regulation of P-Rex1, an Enhancer of Metastatic Potential. Please click on the following link for a description of Jennifer Cash's research project.
Lauren Tanabe, PhD, received her PhD from Columbia University in 2010 where she made important discoveries about dystonia, a neurological disease associated with inappropriate muscle contraction. Dr. Tanabe works at Wayne State University in the Department of Pharmacology. Her Targeting Matriptase/c-Met Signaling in Inflammatory Breast Cancer research project will be supported by MCRF for two years, and could well lead to the identification of a new therapeutic target for the treatment of inflammatory breast cancer. Please click on the following link for a description of Dr. Tanabe's research project.
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute/Wayne State University Institutional Research Grant: This is a block grant which will provide small pilot grants to new faculty to enable these beginning investigators to generate sufficient data in their new laboratories to make them competitive for national research grants. Dr. Gerold Bepler, Karmanos President and CEO, is the Principal Investigator for this award and will manage a local review committee to evaluate and prioritize pilot grant applications from new faculty members at Wayne State University. We will post information about the pilot grants after they have been awarded.
MCRF 2013 GRANT
Jeannie Hernandez, PhD, was the first woman in her family to graduate from high school, and enrolled in the Integrative Biology program at the University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley, she worked in a variety of molecular and cell biology labs and became interested in mechanisms of stem cell differentiation. After graduating from Berkeley, she enrolled in the Cell Biology department in the University of Michigan Medical School, and conducted research on neuronal differentiation and obtaining specific neuronal phenotypes with Richard Altschuler. Jeannie now works as a postdoctoral scientist in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Michigan, where she uses biochemistry and cell biology to understand how the tumor suppressor protein Scribble is regulated in epithelial cells to prevent cells from undergoing malignant transformation.
Please click on the following link for a description of Jeannie Hernandez's MCRF funded research project and its objectives, and please click on the following link for a virtual tour of the University of Michigan laboratory where Jeannie works.
MCRF 2012 GRANTS
Kristen Alford (formerly Admiraal), MSW, is pursuing her PhD in social work at Michigan State University. Her doctoral research focuses on how treatment options affect quality of life among older adults with colorectal cancer. Ms. Alford plans to explore quality of life outcomes as they relate to older adults’ psychological and social well-being. Please click on the following link for a description of Kristen Alford's MCRF funded research project and its objectives.
Ms. Alford received her MSW from the University at Albany, specializing in gerontological social work as a student in the Internships in Aging Program. She received her BSW from Calvin College
Amanda Solem, PhD received MCRF support for a three-month period in 2012 while she was conducting a Single-molecule Study of the Splicesome within the Department of Chemistry at Wayne State University. The term of this project was shortened as Dr. Solem moved to another institution.
2011 MCRF GRANT
Aaron Van Dyke, PhD is with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Michigan. His research project focuses on exploring ways to develop new compounds which, because they have a novel mode of action, may in the long term constitute a new class of drugs for prostate cancer where conventional therapeutics have failed. Please click on the following link for a description of Dr. Van Dyke’s MCRF funded research project and its objectives.
Dr. Van Dyke obtained his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where his research focused on developing new methods for constructing ladder polyether natural products, a class of potent marine toxins. He was an MIT-Wyeth Scholar and received MIT’s Excellence in Teaching award. Dr. Van Dyke received his BS in Chemistry from Seattle University, where a Sullivan Scholarship supported four years of study.
2010 MCRF GRANT
Dr. DeGraff's research is focused on identifying new molecular targets for the treatment of prostate and bladder cancers as well as other urological diseases. Although the research is in an early stage, it may lead to the development of a drug that treats advanced prostate cancer. Please click on the following links to access Dr. DeGraff's description of his research project, and a video update from Dr. DeGraff in June 2010.
Dr. DeGraff obtained his PhD in Cell & Organ Systems from the University of Delaware under the supervision of Dr. Robert Sikes in the Department of Biological Sciences. While performing his dissertation work on the role of IGFBP-2 in castrate-resistant prostate cancer, Dr. DeGraff received the National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Fellowship. Dr. DeGraff has authored two book chapters and several peer-reviewed scientific articles on the subjects of urogenital development and cancer, and is a member of the Society for Basic Urologic Research and the American Association for Cancer Research.
Sharing the results of her work is an important part of the collaborative process which leads to scientific discovery. Dr. Kopera has presented the results of her studies at two national scientific conferences and is writing up the results to submit for publication in 2010. Because of MCRF's investment, Dr. Kopera is in a great position to continue her scientific work in the field of her choice: cancer research. In the coming months, she will finish another project which is focused on investigating the specific mechanisms of how elements jump, and she expects that this project will result in additional presentations and publications. Upon completion of this next project, Dr. Kopera anticipates that she will seek a faculty job as the head of her own laboratory where she will continue her investigations while training new scientists.
Dr. Kopera obtained her PhD in Biological Chemistry from the University of Michigan in 2004, after completing her undergraduate studies in biology at Northwestern University in Chicago. She has received several awards in recognition of her studies, including pre-doctoral fellowships from both the National Institute on Aging, and the NIH National Research Service, and has authored multiple articles related to her research. Dr. Kopera was promoted to the position of Research Investigator in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan in July 2012.
For a summer 2010 video update from Dr. Kopera, click here.
As of summer 2014, Huira Kopera continues her research in the lab of Dr. John Moran in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.
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