Ryan O'Connell Awarded Highly Competitive Grant
Sep 1, 2017 12:00 AM
Ryan O’Connell has received a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Scholar Award, which is a highly competitive 5-year grant given to mid-career faculty who are making ground breaking discoveries in the field of leukemia and lymphoma research. Dr. O’Connell’s lab has been working towards understanding the roles of microRNAs during Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), and some of their findings have recently been published in Blood (Wallace et al., 2017). This work demonstrates that the oncogenic effect of a key mutation within a gene called FLT3, which is common in AML, involves cooperation another gene that is itself overexpressed in AML, a noncoding RNA called miR-155. Importantly, miR-155 acts to promote cellular proliferation and resistance to signals that normally reduce cellular growth, and may represent a novel therapeutic target in the treatment of this horrible disease. The LLS Scholar Award will provide strong financial support for Dr. O’Connell’s continued research in this area, which will focus on the roles of miR-155 and other microRNAs during resistance to drugs currently used to treat AML in the clinic.