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CPRIT awards $2 million to recruit star biochemist

Posted: Monday, January 25, 2010 · Volume: XLIII · Issue: 2

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Contact: Karen Stamm, (210) 450-2020

Dmitri Ivanov, Ph.D., studies DNA damage caused by environmental factors and develops drugs to combat AIDS infection.
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Dmitri Ivanov, Ph.D., studies DNA damage caused by environmental factors and develops drugs to combat AIDS infection.clear graphic

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SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 22, 2010) — The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio received $2 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to bring a rising star in cancer research to the Health Science Center.

The newly recruited researcher, Dmitri Ivanov, Ph.D., is from the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School.

At the Health Science Center, Dr. Ivanov will hold the designation CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research. This award is for an investigator in his or her first tenure-track position who is projected to be a future star in cancer research. Only the second such award by CPRIT to import promising talent into Texas, it provides $2 million over four years to enhance his research program in rational drug design.

DNA damage focus of research
Dr. Ivanov studies how a cell repairs damage to the DNA caused by environmental factors such as radiation. This is something that cancer cells do well and is a reason why they are often resistant to current therapies.

By investigating the molecular structure of the machinery that makes such repairs, Dr. Ivanov hopes to design targeted drugs that will inhibit this process in cancer cells, thus dramatically enhancing the efficacy of other anti-cancer drugs and reducing their potential side effects.

HIV inhibitors
Dr. Ivanov’s lab is also involved in research to design drugs that will inhibit the assembly of HIV, to help combat AIDS infection.

“Dr. Ivanov was greatly honored by the award and is excited to begin his lab operation at the Health Science Center in February,” said Bruce Nicholson, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at the university.

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