Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Cancer Research Institute Announces Winner of 2009 Frederick Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology

The Cancer Research Institute, Inc. (CRI), a nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to the support and coordination of scientific and clinical efforts that will lead to the immunological treatment, control, and prevention of cancer, has announced that Anjana Rao, Ph.D., professor of pathology at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, is the winner of the Cancer Research Institute 2009 Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology.

CRI presented the award to Dr. Rao during a special reception and dinner for CRI-funded graduate students and postdoctoral fellows held the evening of September 30 at The Harvard Club in New York City. The dinner took place in conjunction with the Institute’s 17th Annual International Cancer Immunotherapy Symposium, held Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2009.

In her presentation of the award to Dr. Rao, Dr. Ellen Puré, professor of the Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program at The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, PA, and chair of the Cancer Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee, lauded Dr. Rao’s seminal contributions to our understanding of the role of gene transcription factors in cellular differentiation and function, particularly in immune cells.

Dr. Rao’s research is focused on the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction and gene expression in T lymphocytes, important cells of the immune system that have proven critical to immune control of cancer. Dr. Rao’s early work identified the role of transcription factors in directing T-cell differentiation, especially different functional subsets of T cells.

She elucidated intracellular signal transduction pathways leading from store-operated calcium entry through what is known as CRAC (calcium-release activated calcium entry) channels to activation of the transcription factor known as NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells). She also identified the first member of the NFAT family as well as the CRAC channel pore subunit critical to this response.

Her work has defined how NFAT and other transcription factors regulate immune responses including the induction of peripheral immune tolerance and regulatory T-cell function, both of which directly affect the immune system’s ability to eliminate cancer by inhibiting the activity of other immune cells.

Her studies of the genetic and epigenetic regulation of T-cell differentiation have provided critical insights into DNA regulatory regions that are involved in this type of transcriptional regulation, and also in the nuclear processes that control chromatin assembly and expression of genes that direct lineage specification. In addition to having impact on the immune response, her work has broader implications for cell lineage differentiation and specification in general.

Dr. Rao completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in science at Osmania University in Hyderabad, India. In 1978, she received her Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University. In 1981, Dr. Rao received a Cancer Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship Award while she carried out her postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Harvey Cantor at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She joined the Harvard faculty in 1981 as an instructor in pathology, became an assistant professor in 1984, an associate professor in 1993, and in 1995 she was appointed as a senior investigator of what was then known as the Center for Blood Research, now known as the Immune Disease Institute, which is headed by Dr. Fred Alt, in whose honor this award is named.

In accepting the award, Dr. Rao expressed her gratitude for the Cancer Research Institute’s support of her work. “The CRI postdoctoral fellowship jumpstarted my career, as it has jumpstarted the careers of so many postdoctoral fellows and students,” she told the audience of current CRI fellows, graduate students, and other members of the CRI community including trustees, scientific advisors, and staff. “Getting such an award at the beginning of your career makes one feel independent—the idea is now that you can do whatever it is you want to do, to think of good ideas and do them.”

The Cancer Research Institute annually bestows thirty fellowship awards totaling approximately $4.4 million. Since the establishment of the CRI Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in 1971 (now called the Irvington Institute Fellowship Program of the Cancer Research Institute), CRI has supported 968 young research scientists, many of whom have since gone on to become leaders in the fields of immunology and tumor immunology.

About the Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology

The Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology is presented annually to a former postdoctoral fellow of the Cancer Research Institute in recognition of outstanding success in academia or industry for research that may have a potentially major impact on immunology. The award is named after Dr. Frederick W. Alt, co-chief of molecular medicine and the Charles A. Janeway Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of genetics at the Harvard Medical School / Immune Disease Institute in Boston, MA, is a member of the Cancer Research Institute Scientific Advisory Council who also served for many years as chair of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee of the Irvington Institute for Immunological Research, an organization that merged with the Cancer Research Institute in 2007. For more than 30 years, Dr. Alt has studied how instability within the genome leads to cancer and has worked to uncover the cellular mechanisms that normally suppress this process. His discoveries have led to a greater understanding of the ways that cancer develops, and they hold promise for finding ways to control the disease.

About the Cancer Research Institute

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI) is the world’s only non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the support and coordination of scientific and clinical efforts that will lead to the immunological treatment, control, and prevention of cancer. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes four Nobel Prize winners and twenty-nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI supports leading-edge cancer research at top medical centers and universities throughout the world. CRI is an initiator and steward of global collaborative research efforts aimed at accelerating the translation of basic discovery into effective cancer vaccines and other immune-based therapies to provide new hope to cancer patients.

The Cancer Research Institute has one of the lowest overhead expense ratios among non-profit organizations, with more than 85 percent of its resources going directly to the support of its science, medical, and research programs. CRI meets or exceeds all 20 standards of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, the most comprehensive U.S. charity evaluation service, and according to Charity Navigator exceeds or meets industry standards and performs as well as or better than most cancer charities. CRI has also received an 'A' grade for fiscal disclosure and efficiency from the American Institute of Philanthropy as well as top accolades from other charity watchdog organizations.

Brian Brewer | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Awards Funding:

nachricht VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation
26.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

nachricht Changing the Energy Landscape: Affordable Electricity for All
20.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>