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McGinty honored with Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists

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19 March 2015

Robert McGinty

Robert McGinty, a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Penn State Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Song Tan, has been presented with the Damon Runyon Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists. McGinty is the first Penn State scientist to win this prestigious national career award. The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation selects for this award a group of its postdoctoral fellows who have greatly exceeded expectations and show promise to be leaders in the field of cancer research. The award provides additional funding for innovative cancer research while accelerating the transition of the recipients to an independent research career.

McGinty's research focuses on understanding the structural biology of the regulation of gene expression. In a paper recently published in the journal Nature, McGinty and Tan described for the first time the atomic-scale structure of a regulatory protein in action, revealing how the enzyme binds to a nucleosome -- a component of a chromosome -- in order to influence gene expression. With financial support from the Award for Breakthrough Scientists, McGinty will continue his research to characterize the structures, in action, of other proteins that regulate gene expression. McGinty's work may provide insight into novel avenues for the development of cancer drugs because errors in the interactions between regulatory enzymes and the chromosome can lead to diverse cancers.

In 2012, as a member of the Tan lab at Penn State, McGinty was awarded a Damon Runyon Fellowship. McGinty received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Weill Cornell Medical College and Rockefeller University as a member of the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program that also includes the Sloan-Kettering Institute.

Since its founding in 1946, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has invested over $250 million in funding more than 3,400 young scientists, providing them with financial support for their research and career development. Over the last year, the Foundation increased its scientific funding by 33 percent, expanding its mission of encouraging innovative cancer research. The Award for Breakthrough Scientists was created to honor Dale. F. Frey and to recognize his visionary leadership while serving as the Chairman of the Damon Runyon Board of Directors.


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