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Dr. Alexander Gimelbrant of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute named 2010 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences


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Alexander Gimelbrant, PhD

The Pew Charitable Trusts today named Alexander Gimelbrant, PhD, as a 2010 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.

The program enables scientists to take calculated risks, expand their research, and explore unanticipated leads. Scholars receive $240,000 over four years and gain inclusion into a select community of scientists that includes three Nobel Prize winners, three MacArthur Fellows and two recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the program has invested more than $125 million to fund close to 500 scholars. Many of the nation's best early-career scientists — working in all areas of physical and life sciences related to biomedical research — apply to the rigorously competitive program.

Applicants are nominated by one of 155 invited institutions and demonstrate excellence and innovation in their research.

"Twenty-five years ago, The Pew Charitable Trusts identified a tremendous opportunity to impact the world of science by supporting the most promising young investigators and encouraging them to pursue their best ideas without restrictions," said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

"Motivating scientists at this point in their careers is essential to advancing discovery and innovation, and Pew is honored to continue its commitment to this cadre of high-quality researchers."

Alexander (Sasha) Gimelbrant, PhD, received his doctorate with Dr. Pavel P. Philippov at Moscow University in Russia. He moved to the United States to do his postdoctoral work with Dr. Andrew Chess of the Center for Human Genetic Research of Massachusetts General Hospital.

In 2008, he was appointed an assistant professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Department of Pathology of Harvard Medical School.

Our cells have the ability to turn only one copy of a gene on when two copies (one maternal, one paternal) are present, known as single gene activation. Single gene activation plays a crucial role in generating diversity in many cell types, including immune system cells and neurons.

Dr. Gimelbrant is building a map of gene activation, determining which genes are marked to have only one copy on and one copy silenced, to better understand the mechanisms essential for gene silencing. His findings could lead to the design of highly customized cancer treatments that would improve patient outcomes.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.

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