UVM Cancer Center Announces 2021 Pilot Project Grantees

January 12, 2022 by Kate Strotmeyer

The UVM Cancer Center recently announced the recipients of its 2021 Pilot Project Grants. Each investigator receives a $50,000 grant to pursue their research. 

The awardees are:

  • Frances Carr, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology. Dr. Carr’s project, titled “Thyroid hormone receptor beta agonists: Novel applications in anaplastic thyroid cancer,” builds upon ongoing research, seeking to deepen its understanding of the thyroid hormone receptor, beta’s, unique characteristics as a tumor suppressor in anaplastic thyroid cancer (the fastest growing endocrine cancer).
  • Alan Howe, Ph.D., professor of molecular physiology and biophysics. Dr. Howe’s project, “Characterization of talin as a putative, mechanically-gated A-kinase anchoring protein in ovarian cancer cell migration and invasion,” will investigate a newly identified protein complex thought to be responsible for sensing mechanical information from the cellular microenvironment and converting it into biochemical signals that control cell movement.
  • Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. Titled “Glutaredoxin, glutathione metabolism and lung cancer,” Dr. Janssen-Heininger’s project is a collaborative undertaking with C. Matthew Kinsey, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, and Adrianus “Jos” Van der Velden, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, targeting glutathione levels in cancer organoids.
  • Michael Toth, Ph.D., professor of medicine. For his project, “A novel in vitro system to determine the role of macrophages in cancer cachexia,” Dr. Toth will be working with Dr. van der Velden and Matthew Poynter, Ph.D., professor of medicine, to examine whether immune cells contribute to the effects of tumors to cause unintended weight loss in cancer patients. 

UVM Cancer Center member and Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology and Molecular Genetics Jason Stumpff, Ph.D., served as chair of the pilot project grant review committee.

Pictured  (clockwise, from left): Drs. Howe, Carr, Toth, and Janssen-Heininger.