Bulgarian Student Wins US Award for Skin Cancer Research
The Bulgarian graduate student Nora Pencheva will receive a US award for cancer research.
Pencheva is a graduate fellow in Sohail Tavazoie’s Laboratory of Systems Cancer Biology in the Rockefeller University, will receive a Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, one of America’s most prestigious graduate student prizes.
The award is given by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and recognizes outstanding achievement during graduate studies in the biological sciences.
Pencheva earned her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Kenyon College in Ohio, and will graduate from the Rockefeller University with her Ph.D. in molecular biology in June. She is also the recipient of an Anderson Center for Cancer Research Fellowship.
Her doctoral thesis project explores the molecular biology of metastatic melanoma — the most deadly type of skin cancer.
Looking for novel regulatory pathways involved in the cancer, Pencheva has identified three microRNAs that promote metastasis in several types of melanoma by enhancing the invasive capacity of melanoma cells and the cells’ ability to recruit neighboring cells into the metastatic process.
Pencheva has found that the expression levels of these microRNAs could act as prognostic biomarkers in melanoma by determining if patients were at high risk for relapse.
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