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University of Iowa News Release

June 29, 2004

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Awards Seed Grants

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa announces that grants totaling $82,500 have been awarded to five UI researchers and one medical student. The awards include three American Cancer Society (ACS) seed grant awards, one ACS-Institutional Research Grant Student Stipend Award and one Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center seed grant.

Junior faculty members and independent research scientists receive seed grant awards to help initiate their careers in cancer research and provide them with funds for the purpose of exploring new ideas related to the cause, prevention and therapy of cancer.

The following researchers received ACS seed grants:

Leigh Beglinger, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, and Kevin Duff, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, both in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, will study how bone marrow transplant procedures impact the ability of patients to function intellectually after the procedure is complete. With more and more patients surviving cancer therapy, quality of life after therapy is increasingly important.

Christopher Stipp, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will evaluate how a particular protein impacts the ability of cancer cells to move. Insight into this area could increase understanding of how cancers spread from one part of the body to another part.

M. Todd Washington, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry, will assess the enzymes that are involved in causing mutations in genes. Such mutations can be responsible for the abnormal behavior of cancer cells.

Minh Dao, second-year UI medical student, received the student stipend. He will study the interaction between ovarian cancer cells and the immune system, under the mentorship of Craig Morita, M.D., Ph.D., UI associate professor of internal medicine.

Geeta Lal, M.D., UI assistant professor of surgery, who received the Holden Center's seed grant, will assess whether the presence of certain genes impact the behavior of cancer cells. This research could have implications on both the diagnosis and therapy of thyroid cancer.

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is Iowa's only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center. NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers are recognized as the leaders in developing new approaches to cancer prevention and cancer care, conducting leading edge research and educating the public about cancer. Visit the center online at

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Becky Soglin, 3180335-6660,