UMMS Researcher Named Kimmel Scholar

June 07, 2000

WORCESTER, Mass. - Michelle A. Kelliher, PhD, of Wellesley Hills, an assistant professor of molecular genetics & microbiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), has been named a Cancer Scholar by the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research. Presented to 10 accomplished researchers each year, the award supports outstanding young investigators in all cancer fields.

Dr. Kelliher will receive $100,000 for two years to pursue her research on how the tal-1 gene contributes to the development of leukemia. She said, "Tal-1 expression occurs in as many as 65% of patients with T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The overall goal of my research program is to assess how this basic helix-loop-helix protein contributes to disease development." The Kimmel Cancer Scholar Award is designed to support dedicated and promising young scientists who establish themselves through publications in prominent, peer-reviewed scientific journals. The recipients are selected from major, not-for-profit cancer centers across the country by the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board which includes such leaders in the field of cancer research as: Judah Folkman, MD, of the Harvard Medical School; Steven Rosenberg, MD, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute; Carlo Croce, MD, of the Kimmel Cancer Center; and Joseph Bertino, MD, of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Regarding her award, Kelliher said, "Thanks to these funds, it is our hope that this research will help elucidate how tal-1 contributes to human leukemia and ultimately aid in the design of more effective therapies."

The Kimmel Scholar Award Program was established in 1997 by Sidney Kimmel, founder and chairman of Jones Apparel Group, and distributes $2 million per year. To date, 39 investigators from medical centers across the country have received grants which helps fund their individual cancer research programs. In 1999, Kai Lin, PhD, UMMS assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, was named a Kimmel Scholar.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, attracting more than $92 million in research funding annually. A perennial top-ten finisher in the annual US News & World Report ranking of primary care medical schools, UMMS comprises a medical school, graduate school of nursing, graduate school of biomedical sciences and an active research enterprise, and is a leader in health sciences education, research, clinical care and public service. In 1998, the UMMS system of hospitals and clinics merged with Memorial Health Care to form UMass Memorial Health Care, the clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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