UMass Medical Cancer Receives Funding for Cancer Cell Research

Researcher Dr. Jennifer Benanti at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass), a New England Council Member, was recently awarded $3.2 million in funding from the National Institute of Health.

The Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) will fund Dr. Benanti’s research of cancer cell division. MIRA grants allow researchers flexibility with their work, and don’t restrict them to one outcome. In order to understand why cancer metastasizes, researchers must understand what mutations cancer cells carry that would limit the growth of normal cells. Because the process of cell division in yeast is similar to the processes in human cells, Dr. Benanti is using budding yeast to study the growth of cancer.

“The idea behind this award is that it will encompass all of the work in my lab that is funded by NIGMS,” Dr. Benanti said. “With MIRA funding, the investigator is not tied to specific aims of a grant like you normally are. Instead, you’re free to pursue the most promising directions as they arise, and to just do the most impactful science that you can.”

The Council congratulates Dr. Benanti on the MIRA award and commends her work to understand the metastasis of cancer cells. Read more from Worcester Business Journal and UMass Medical.

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