Trowbridge, Dai awarded grants under NCI 'provocative questions' initiative

Jennifer Trowbridge, Ph.D.

Bar Harbor, Maine—Assistant Professors Jennifer Trowbridge, Ph.D., and Chengkai Dai, M.D., Ph.D., have each received new federal research grants through a funding mechanism designed to address "provocative questions" about cancer set out by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

According to the NCI, the Provocative Questions initiative provides funding "to challenge cancer researchers to think about and elucidate specific problems in key areas of cancer research that are deemed important but have not received sufficient attention."

Trowbridge will receive $426,426 over two years for her investigations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Several acquired mutations are associated with this disease, and Trowbridge is exploring whether the sequence in which the mutations occur has an effect on the severity of the cancer or the effectiveness of treatments.

Chengkai Dai, M.D., Ph.D.

Dai's two-year, $478,688 grant will support his studies of metformin, a widely prescribed anti-diabetic drug that appears to have anti-cancer effects. He hypothesizes that metformin suppresses the proteotoxic stress response—a mechanism that helps normal cells survive various stresses but also protects cancer cells.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs a total staff of more than 1,600. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.

This research is funded under National Cancer Institute grants 1R21CA184704-01 and 1R21CA184851-01.