Webb and McGee of Zakian Lab Win Fellowships
Jean S. McGee, an MD/PhD student in the Zakian lab, was awarded an NIH/NRSA F30 predoctoral fellowship. The goal of Jean's research is to understand telomerase regulation. Specifically, it will focus on elucidating the mechanism of how telomerase preferentially elongates short telomeres. A telomere is a complex of DNA and proteins that marks the end of a chromosome. Telomerase is an enzyme that elongates telomeres, thereby enabling cells to continuously divide without losing their genetic material. Therefore, studying telomerase regulation is important in understanding how cells age and senesce. Jean will pursue research on the basic mechanisms of cell aging in order to prepare herself for a career as a physician-scientist. For more information about this type of NIH support please go to the F30 program announcement
Christopher Webb, a postdoc in Zakian's lab, was awarded the American Cancer Society fellowship for his project entitled "Dissection of Telomerase-telomere Interaction in Schizosaccharomyces Pombe". In the past, researches have used budding yeast to understand telomerase, but budding yeast and humans are not similar enough to understand certain aspects of telomere biology. Using Schizosaccharomyces pombe, a genetically tractable fission yeast, Webb hopes to gain insight into the function of telomerase in humans and especially in cancer.