|Grant ID: RR150059|
Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
May 20, 2015
One key for targeting therapy to cancer cells and not harming normal cells is finding out what makes cancer cells different. A molecular biologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center is trying to discover the cellular building blocks cancer cells can’t do without.
Maralice Conacci-Sorrell was recruited in 2015 from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where she was a staff scientist, with the help of a First-Time Tenure Track Award from CPRIT. She joined the Department of Cell Biology.
Conacci-Sorrell’s postdoctoral research focused on an oncogene that helps cancer cells metastasize. Coming to Texas, she planned to look for small molecules—potential drugs—that would interfere with this process. But she found herself pursuing another path: discovering how cancer cells obtain nutrients and utilize them differently from normal cells.
In particular, she’s focusing on amino acids, the fundamental cellular building blocks that form proteins. Cancer cells, dividing rapidly, utilize raw materials at a much faster pace than normal cells in order to create the biomass of a tumor.