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HBC announces selection of two recipients of 2014 Jay Fund research awards

Friday, July 11, 2014

Two projects by faculty from the departments of Molecular Biosciences and Chemistry were selected to receive 2014 J.R. and Inez Jay Fund research awards.

The proposal titled “Identifying stabilizers of p53 using pocket complementarity” submitted by John Karanicolas,
associate professor of John Karanicolasmolecular biosciences, was selected for funding.  Karanicolas’s project concerns the tumor suppressor protein p53, which is mutated or deleted in more than half of human cancers. The aim of Karanicolas’s research is to identify compounds that potently bind to folded p53 and stabilize it. His goal is that the research ultimately will lead to developing a new class of broad-spectrum cancer therapeutics and tool compounds, and can be expanded to identify other re-activators of other proteins frequently deactivated in human cancers by destabilizing mutation.

The second project selected for funding was submitted by assistant professor of chemistry Yong Zeng. Zeng’s project
istitled “MicrofluidicYong Zeng molecular analysis of tumor-derived exosomes.” Blood-based tests hold great promise for non-invasive, asymptomatic screening and early detection of cancer, but most blood biomarkers to date lack the necessary sensitivity and specificity. Probing circulating exosomes is an emerging paradigm for noninvasive cancer diagnosis and monitoring of treatment response because of growing evidence of their clinical implications in tumorigenesis and progression. Zeng’s aim is to begin work on developing new analytical capabilities for efficient isolation and quantitative protein profiling of circulating exosomes in cancer.

The J.R. and Inez Jay Fund is an endowed fund at the KU Endowment Association that was established by the Jay family to encourage the conduct of biomedical research. The purpose of the Jay Fund is to stimulate interdisciplinary, biomedical research activities in pursuit of large external grants such as multi-investigator R01 awards, program projects, and center grants administered through the HBC. All biomedical scientists holding Principal Investigator status at KU are eligible to apply for one of these awards. The emphasis of the awards is strongly on interdisciplinary, collaborative research efforts. Recipients are selected by members of the HBC internal advisory committee.

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