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McGinty Receives Damon Runyon Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists

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Dr. Rob McGinty11 February 2015 — Robert McGinty, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Eberly College of Science at Penn State University, has been presented with the Damon Runyon Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists. This prestigious national career award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation offers continued support to its most promising postdoctoral fellows.

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation identifies a select group of its postdoctoral fellows that have greatly exceeded expectations and show promise to be leaders in the field of cancer research. These fellows receive the Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists, which provides $100,000 additional funding for innovative cancer research while accelerating their pathways to independent research careers.

In 2012, as a member of the Tan Lab at Penn State, McGinty was awarded a Damon Runyon Fellowship. Alongside Song Tan, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, McGinty researches the structural biology of gene regulation. In a paper recently published in the journal Nature, McGinty and Tan described the first atomic-scale structure of an epigenetic enzyme bound to its nucleosome substrate . With financial support from the Award for Breakthrough scientists, McGinty’s continued research will focus on the structural characterization of other epigenetic signaling events on the nucleosome. As the misregulation of such events lead to diverse cancers, this work may provide insight into novel avenues for cancer drug development.

McGinty obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Weill Cornell Medical College and Rockefeller University as a member of the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. program. His graduate thesis, leading to 13 publications, includes groundbreaking research using semisynthetic protein chemistry to study chromatin biology under the mentorship of Tom Muir.

Since its founding in 1946, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has invested over $250 million in funding more than 3,400 young scientists, providing them with financial support for their research and career development. Over the last year, the Foundation increased its scientific funding by 33%, expanding its mission of encouraging innovative cancer research. The Award for Breakthrough Scientists was created to honor Dale. F. Frey to recognize his visionary leadership while serving as the Chairman of the Damon Runyon Board of Directors.