UAlbany Students Earn Fellowships for Cancer ResearchIn Feb. 2011, two UAlbany doctoral students in Biomedical Sciences at the School of Public Health won three-year fellowships to support their investigations into breast cancer. Jan Baumann, a native of Hameln, Germany, and Don Matthews of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, have been awarded highly competitive Department of Defense (DOD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs fellowships.
Baumann is using metabolomic analysis to examine whether the growth of breast cancer cells can be altered through nutritional limitations. He will receive $124,929 to conduct research in the lab of his mentor, Associate Professor Douglas Conklin. Matthews is a graduate student in Empire Innovations Professor JoEllen Welsh's lab, studying the effects of vitamin D on breast cancer. He will receive $117,294 to study the genomic changes induced by various metabolites of vitamin D in relation to the growth of breast cells.
"The Department of Defense awards fewer than 100 fellowships a year," noted UAlbany Cancer Research Center Director Martin Tenniswood. "It is a remarkable achievement for one institution to receive two awards in the same cycle. I think this speaks highly of the graduate students and their mentors."
The awards will help the researchers begin their medical research careers with a proven track record, producing results that will help further the field of breast cancer research. The fellowships include salary support and also cover the cost of tuition, workshops and attendance at the DOD "Era of Hope" conference, where they will present their progress and network with other breast cancer researchers.
Baumann plans to integrate his previous research in immunology with his current research on cancer, with the goal of becoming an independent investigator in the field of tumor immunology. Matthews wants to run his own lab one day to focus on breast cancer development and progression, with the goal of developing new strategies for prevention and treatment.