Connecticut College professor awarded $419k for ovarian cancer research

The National Cancer Institute has awarded biology professor Martha J. Grossel a $419,375 grant to support her ovarian cancer research.

Grossel's research involves understanding what causes the unchecked cellular division that is associated with cancer. This grant will allow Grossel and her team, including undergraduate students and Philip Hinds, associate director of the Molecular Oncology Research Institute at Tufts University School of Medicine, to investigate the interaction of the cell cycle regulatory protein "Cyclin Dependent Kinase 6" (cdk6) and the developmentally important transcription factor "Eyes absent homolog 2" (Eya2).

"An understanding of how these proteins influence differentiation and cell proliferation is crucial to the biology of cancer stem cells and development and may advance our understanding of ovarian cancer," Grossel said.

Grossel's research has been supported by a number of research grants, including a $465,000 five-year National Science Foundation CAREER grant, awarded to new faculty members who are most likely to become academic leaders of the 21st century, and a three-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) Academic Research Enhancement Award to study the mechanism of differentiation functions of cdk6.

Grossel stresses the importance of undergraduate student research in her classes and encourages students to learn more about molecular biology by participating in one of the ongoing research projects in her laboratory. She has co-authored papers and journal articles with students and was awarded a minority supplement to her NIH grant to support a student's research and travel to present at a scientific conference.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is part of the National Institutes of Health, one of 11 agencies that compose the Department of Health and Human Services. The NCI, established under the National Cancer Institute Act of 1937, is the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research and training. The National Cancer Act of 1971 broadened the scope and responsibilities of the NCI and created the National Cancer Program. Over the years, legislative amendments have maintained the NCI authorities and responsibilities and added new information dissemination mandates as well as a requirement to assess the incorporation of state-of-the-art cancer treatments into clinical practice.

This grant is 100 percent federally funded.

About Connecticut College

Situated on the coast of southern New England, Connecticut College is a highly selective private liberal arts college with 1900 students from all across the country and throughout the world. On the college’s 750-acre arboretum campus overlooking Long Island Sound, students and faculty create a vibrant social, cultural and intellectual community enriched by diverse perspectives. The college, founded in 1911, is known for its unique combination of interdisciplinary studies, international programs, funded internships, student-faculty research and service learning. For more information, visit www.connecticutcollege.edu.

The college is celebrating its centennial in 2011 with an array of events for students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community. For more information, visit http://centennial.conncoll.edu/.