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Dec. 17, 2015 – Ahn receives $1.7M grant to study role of SON protein in leukemia

Erin Ahn resized.jpgDr. Erin Eun-Young Ahn, Ph.D., assistant professor of Oncologic Sciences at USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, has been awarded a $1.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. The five-year R01 grant, with annual direct funding of $228,750, will be used to study the role of the SON protein in the development of leukemia.

“Leukemia is the most common and devastating cancer affecting children and young adults, and my research group has been dedicated to figuring out the factors causing abnormal DNA/RNA regulation, which leads to leukemia,” Ahn said.

She explained that researchers have discovered a novel protein, called SON, that binds to the genetic material DNA and RNA in the cells and plays a critical role in the RNA production process.

“We identified that many leukemia patients, including several patients from MCI, have defects in the SON protein function,” she said. “Our future research funded by this grant will enable us to understand detailed molecular mechanisms of DNA/RNA regulation by SON in leukemia cells, which will be beneficial to development of novel therapeutic targets for leukemia.”   

Ahn joined MCI in 2012 after working as an assistant project scientist at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego. This is the first R01 grant for Dr. Ahn, who currently holds an R21 grant.

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