Dr. Daniel Klein, a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Adrian Ferré-D'Amaré's lab in the Basic Sciences Division, is the recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. The fellowships provide more than $130,000 for salary and expenses during a three-year period.
The fellowship will support Klein's studies on riboswitches, small pieces of RNA that monitor the levels of different metabolic products in cells. Depending on the levels of these metabolites, the riboswitches undergo a three-dimensional change that enables them to turn on or off the genes that regulate the metabolite's production. In order to understand this process, Klein is studying the three-dimensional structures of two types of riboswitches, known as glmS and SAM.
Because all organisms must tightly control the activity of their genes in order to grow and develop normally, Klein's work may shed light on how abnormal gene activity leads to diseases such as cancer.
Since its founding in 1946, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has focused on identifying and encouraging scientists early in their career to commit themselves to cancer research.