Three researchers with UBC Science have received 2008 Career Investigator Awards from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. The researchers are investigating how to develop improved antibiotics, the growth and proper functioning of T cells, and how viruses deliver their genome to the cell nucleus.
Ninan Abraham, Assistant Professor with the departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Zoology, received a six-year MSF Career Investigator Award. Abraham's work looks at the development and proper functioning of T cells, the absence of which results in inherited or acquired immunodeficiency--a growing health crisis. Deregulated growth and development of the cells can lead to cancer of the immune system, including Leukemia and Lymphoma, the most common cancers among children.
Nelly Pante, Associate Professor with the Department of Zoology, was named a five-year Career Investigator at the Senior Scholar level. Pante's lab studies one of the fundamental molecular trafficking pathways within cells: the movement of macromolecules between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. The award is funding her work to investigate how viruses deliver their genome to the cell nucleus.
Suzana Straus, Assistant Professor with the Department of Chemistry, received a Career Investigator Award to look into how cationic antimicrobial peptides and lipopeptides function. The work has important implications for the design of better antibiotics. Straus' lab investigates membrane proteins, which play an important role in many cellular processes.
MSF Career Investigator awards are worth $80,000 a year at the Scholar level, and $100,000 a year at the Senior Scholar level. Forty awards are presented to BC universies in each round of funding.