Seven cancer researchers at Texas A&M University receive CPRIT grants totaling almost $1.4 million

Test Tubes Header

COLLEGE STATION – The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has awarded research grants to seven faculty members at Texas A&M University totaling nearly $1.4 million. The grants are among 35 new awards totaling more than $79.2 million that CPRIT announced in Austin on Wednesday, May 18 — surpassing the halfway point of its funding authority.

Texas A&M Vice President for Research Glen A. Laine said, “CPRIT grants deliver more than financial support for cancer researchers and their projects—they provide ample evidence that Texas A&M faculty members and their research teams are making substantial advances that bolster our state’s commitment to cancer research. These and other faculty members at Texas A&M continue to produce significant innovations in cancer treatment and prevention that make the lives of Texans, the nation and the world a better place.”

All seven Texas A&M researchers received High-Impact/High-Risk grants that will contribute major new insights and ideas into the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer.

John W. Bevan, professor and holder of the Davidson Chair in the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, was awarded a $200,000 grant to support a project titled, “Integrated Cavity-Enhanced Pre-Screening for Lung Cancer.”

Zhilei Chen, assistant professor in the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunologies, College of Medicine, received a $200,000 grant to fund a project titled, “A Platform Technology for the Isolation of Anti-Cancer Monoclonal Antibodies from Chickens.”

Carl Gregory, associate professor with the College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine and Institute for Regenerative Medicine, was awarded a $200,000 grant to support a project titled, “An Unlikely Therapeutic Target for Malignant Bone Disease: Dkk-1 Activates a Stress Resistance Mechanism in Bone Tumor Cells.”

Jean-Philippe Pellois, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, received a grant of $199,753 to fund a Texas A&M AgriLife Research project titled, “Quantitative Mapping of Intracellular Protein-Protein Interactomes in Healthy and Cancerous Cells.

Raquel Sitcheran, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, College of Medicine, was awarded a $200,000 grant to fund a project titled, “Novel Roles for NIK in High-Grade Glioma: Regulation of Mitochondrial Dynamics to Control Cell Migration and Invasion.”

Steven M. Wright, professor and holder of the Royce E. Wisenbaker Professorship II as well as associate head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering, received a $200,000 grant to support a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station project titled, “A Body Coil for MR Imaging and Spectroscopy of Cancer at 7 Tesla.”

Xiuren Zhang, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was awarded a grant of $199,958 to fund a Texas A&M AgriLife Research project titled, “Exploring Geminivirus-Encoded Suppressor of Histone Methyltransferases as an Anti-Cancer Drug.”

CPRIT provides funding through its academic research, prevention, and product development research programs. In 2007, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment to establish CPRIT with $3 billion in bonds. Since 2009, CPRIT has presented 1,033 grants totaling roughly $1.57 billion to support cancer research, product development and prevention programs. Programs made possible with CPRIT funding have reached all 254 counties of the state, brought more than 100 distinguished researchers to Texas, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, and provided more than 2.8 million life-saving education, training, prevention and early detection services to Texans.