Qing Feng was named a recipient of the Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award. This award recognizes exceptional scientific achievement during PhD studies in biology. Awardees are selected from graduate students nominated by their host institutions across the US.
Robert Bradley was named a recipient of the newly created President's Young Investigator Award at Fred Hutch. This award provides funding for unrestricted research, which will help the lab to open new research directions such as therapeutic target identification.
Guo-Liang "Chewie" Chew received the Mahan Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Computational Biology Program at Fred Hutch. Chewie proposed to study the biology of retroelements, repetitive DNA sequences that constitute a large fraction of the human genome, and their interactions with RNA surveillance pathways such as nonsense-mediated decay. Chewie proposed to determine differences in retroelement regulation and expression in normal and disease states to gain insight into the physiological roles played by these poorly understood genomic elements.
Sujatha Jagannathan received a postdoctoral fellowship from the FSH Society. Suja proposed that RNA quality control pathways may be less efficient in muscle cells of patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). FSHD is caused by inappropriate expression of the disease gene DUX4 in skeletal muscle of affected individuals, but the origins of DUX4's toxicity are not known. In the model that Suja proposed, reduced RNA surveillance efficiency permits normally degraded aberrant RNAs to become stably expressed in DUX4-expressing cells, thereby contributing to multiple aspects of the disease.
Heidi Dvinge received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Department of Defense's Breast Cancer Research Program. Heidi proposed to determine how the RNA components of the spliceosome contribute to breast cancer. These spliceosomal RNAs are best known for playing basal roles in splicing catalysis, and are not typically studied in the context of splicing regulation or dysregulation in disease. Heidi found evidence that spliceosomal RNAs may play important roles in the progression of "triple-negative" breast cancers, which are frequently aggressive and difficult to treat with currently available therapies.