Cancer research grant for Sussex scientist
A University of Sussex scientist has been awarded a prestigious research fellowship and funding of £1.6 million to support him in his work on cancer.
Dr Helfrid Hochegger, a Senior Research Fellow in the Genome Damage and Stability Centre (GDSC), is one of just seven of “the UK’s brightest minds” to be funded by Cancer Research UK as part of a £11 million investment by the charity to find answers to some of the most fundamental problems in cancer.
Dr Hochegger is studying the molecular machines that ensure cell division goes smoothly. He is focusing on tiny structures called microtubules that help to separate both copies of a cell’s DNA as it divides.
Because they’re so important for cell division, cancer cells are completely dependent on microtubules. Drugs that stop microtubules from working already form the basis of drugs used to treat cancer patients, so finding new ways of hitting microtubules might set the stage for even more effective treatments.
Using state-of-the-art technology, Dr Hochegger is hunting for new molecules that work together with microtubules, helping them do their job. By studying how these ‘microtubule-associated proteins’ work, his research is inspiring new ideas to strike at the heart of cancer.
The Senior Cancer Research Fellowship (for “experienced scientists who have already shown to be outstanding in their field”) from Cancer Research UK will allow Dr Hochegger to build on this work by funding six years' research support and salaries.
He said: “This Fellowship is the most important milestone in my career to date. It gives me the freedom and support to develop my research programme at a critical time in my scientific development.”
Dr David Scott, Cancer Research UK’s director of science funding, said: “Investing in the next generation of cancer researchers is crucial if we are to continue the tremendous progress in beating cancer. We’re delighted to be supporting these seven researchers in forging their careers in this important field.”