CU-Boulder Professor Receives $200,000 Kimmel Scholar Award For Cancer Research

March 22, 2008 •

Assistant Professor Hang (Hubert) Yin of the University of Colorado at Boulder's chemistry and biochemistry department has been selected to receive a prestigious Kimmel Scholar Award from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research in Baltimore, the first such award received by a CU-Boulder scientist.

Yin's work to improve the understanding of cellular membranes has possible implications for future treatment of adult and child cancers such as Burkitt's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder.

The $200,000 award will begin in July 2008 and will be available to support Yin's cancer-related research for two years. The award program aims to improve the basic understanding of cancer biology and to develop new methods for the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Yin is developing highly selective molecular probes for membrane proteins, which have the potential to impact both basic science and clinically relevant cancer prevention and treatment.

The research involves the movement of molecules through membrane regions of proteins, which regulate many important biological processes in human cells. Molecular recognition in cellular membranes is little understood, however, due to the lack of highly effective probes. To overcome this obstacle, Yin's research group is testing a computational simulation that may allow the team to probe previously inaccessible protein-to-protein interactions in the membrane.

The group's work is expected to lay the groundwork for future studies involving the treatment of human cancers such as Epstein-Barr virus-dependent malignancies. The findings also may be applicable to the design of membrane protein probes and inhibitors with therapeutic potential.

The interdisciplinary approach of the research also has implications for peptide chemistry, viral oncology, biophysics and cellular biology, in addition to biotechnology in the study and prevention of cancer, Yin said.

Yin came to the CU-Boulder chemistry and biochemistry department in 2007 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he was a postdoctoral fellow from 2004 to 2007. He received his doctorate in chemistry from Yale University in 2004.

In addition to his faculty position at CU-Boulder, Yin is an associate member of the University of Colorado Cancer Center in the Developmental Therapeutics Program.

In 2007 Yin received the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Wood-Whelan Research Fellowship, the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation Young Investigator Scholarship and the Elsevier Most Cited Paper Award.

Since its inception in 1997, the Sidney Kimmel Foundation has awarded research grants to 145 scientists. The Kimmel Scholar Awards were created to advance the careers of gifted scientists involved in cancer research who may not be far enough along in their careers to receive awards from the National Cancer Institute and other major biomedical funding organizations.

For more information about the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, visit the Web site at: www.kimmel.org/Cancer_Research28.html.

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