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September 1, 2016 - Singhs win Faculty Innovation Award


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The University of South Alabama National Alumni Association has awarded the 2016 Russell and Robin Lea National Alumni Excellence in Faculty Innovation Award to Drs. Ajay and Seema Singh, researchers at USA Mitchell Cancer Institute. The Singhs received the award at the association’s annual meeting on Thursday, August 25.

“We are so pleased to have Drs. Ajay and Seema Singh win the 2016 Innovation Award,” said Lynne Chronister, USA vice president for Research and Economic Development. “With their exceptional scientific knowledge, interest in translating research into practice and their business acumen, they exemplify successful academic entrepreneurs.”

While at MCI, the Singhs have been involved in six invention disclosures and four individual patent applications. Their projects cover a spectrum including the study of skin carcinogenesis and its prevention by the use of silver nanoparticles, tumor cell behavior and therapeutic resistance, and the characterization of biomarkers that diagnose cancer early or predict its aggressiveness and responsiveness to treatment. The Singhs are the also the founders of a biotech company, Tatva Biosciences.

“They truly represent the spirit of innovation,” said Dr. Andrew Byrd, director of the USA Office of Commercialization & Industry Collaboration.

Ajay Singh, Ph.D., professor of Oncologic Sciences, heads MCI’s Health Disparities in Cancer Research Program and runs the Tumor Microenvironment Lab.  His research mostly focuses on prostate and pancreatic malignancies, and biological causes underlying racial disparities in cancer.

Seema Singh, Ph.D., an associate professor of Oncologic Sciences, leads the Inflammation and Immunobiology Lab.  Her research focuses on skin and breast cancer as well as health disparities in cancer. She is active in numerous events, including MCI’s Think Pink Tea celebration and the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk, both held in October.

The Singhs, who joined MCI in 2009, are in the third year of two 5-year grants totaling more than $3 million to study novel combination therapy approaches for pancreatic cancer and the biology of prostate cancer racial disparities.

In addition, they were awarded a $1.7 million five-year grant in June to study the biological differences in African-American and Caucasian women that could define incidence, cancer type and mortality. The grants are awarded by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.



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