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April 20, 2016

MSU researcher receives prestigious grant to advance cancer investigations

Sophia Lunt, MSU assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, is one of only four scientists nationally to receive a 2016 NextGen Grant for Transformative Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research. The new research funding by the AACR hopes to inspire even more research to push innovative treatment results.

Lunt, whose research focuses on understanding the role of metabolism in supporting cancer proliferation, heterogeneity and metastasis, said she was thrilled to be selected for the award.

"I am truly honored to receive the AACR NextGen Grant for Transformative Cancer Research,” she said. “This reflects not only the exciting research going on in my laboratory, but also the excellent scientific environment here at MSU.”

The $450,000 grant will enable Lunt and her research team to shed light on metabolic pathways indispensable for pancreatic cancer growth, ultimately leading to the development of new treatment strategies that she hopes will provide much-needed treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients.

“Professor Lunt is an outstanding researcher in our department who is using mass spectrometry, which has long been a strength of MSU,” said Thomas Sharkey, University Distinguished Professor and biochemistry and molecular biology chair. “The grant will allow her to make a difference for cancer patients. The department congratulates her on this important recognition and the opportunity to improve the human condition by developing treatments for this deadly cancer.”

The new AACR funding initiative, launched last June, is geared to stimulate highly innovative research from young investigators and is intended to promote and support creative, paradigm-shifting cancer research that may not otherwise be funded through existing channels.

“Professor Lunt is an outstanding young researcherß and is a wonderful example of Michigan State's commitment to basic science that has impact on critical societal issues,” said R. James Kirkpatrick, dean of the College of Natural Science. “On behalf of the college, I extend my congratulations to her on this well-deserved honor.”