Hutch News

Structural biologist Ferre-D'Amare receives Rita Allen scholar award

June 7, 2001

Dr. Adrian Ferre-D'Amare, investigator in the Basic Sciences Division, is now a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar.

The three-year, $150,000 award will fund structural studies of pseudouridine synthase, an enzyme required for synthesis of a constituent of ribonucleic acid (RNA), an information-containing molecule similar to DNA.

Pseudouridine synthase is a component of human telomerase, an enzyme that keeps the ends of chromosomes intact and that is also deregulated in some cancers. For these reasons, pseudouridine synthase may be a potential target for anticancer drugs.

As a structural biologist, Ferre-D'Amare has used the technique of X-ray crystallography to decipher the three-dimensional structures of ribozymes, intricately folded RNA molecules that carry out enzymatic reactions.

Past Allen recipients at the Hutch are Drs. Bruce Edgar and the late Hal Weintraub, both of Basic Sciences.

The Allen Foundation sponsors scientists in early career stages who show promise of becoming leaders in research in the cure and treatment of cancer, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and the development of euphorics and analgesics in the treatment of terminal illnesses.

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