Dr. Adrian Ferre-D'Amare, an investigator in the Basic Sciences Division, has been awarded a grant of up to $1 million over the next five years from the W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles. Ferr?-D'Amar? was one of five scientists in the country named to the foundation's Young Scholars in Medical Research Program, which supports the nation's most promising young scientists involved in biomedical research addressing the fundamental mechanisms of human disease.
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.
With the Keck award, Ferre-D'Amare will apply his understanding of RNA to the design of experimentally modified RNAs and other molecules that interact with RNAs. Such molecules could potentially be used as therapeutics for a variety of diseases-including some cancers and blood disorders-in which malfunctioning RNAs play a role.
Ferre-D'Amare, who joined the center in 1999, was in 2001 named a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar. He received his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University and completed postdoctoral work at Yale University.
In 1999, Dr. Bruce Clurman of the Clinical Research and Human Biology divisions was also named as one of the foundation's Young Scholars.
Established in 1954 by William Myron Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Co., the W.M. Keck Foundation is one of the country's largest philanthropic organizations. Foundation grants are focused primarily on the areas of medical research, science and engineering.