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Home News 2015 Clark Atlanta University Doctoral Candidate Receives $74,000 Award From National Institutes Of Health

Clark Atlanta University Doctoral Candidate Receives $74,000 Award From National Institutes Of Health

Posted on Tuesday, September 08, 2015


Donna Brock
Larry Calhoun

ATLANTA (Sept. 8, 2015) – Liza J. Burton, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Clark Atlanta University's (CAU) Department of Biological Sciences and the Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD), received the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research on Aug. 20.  The $74,000 award covers a two-year period and provides support in the form of tuition, stipend, research supplies and travel funds, to enable high-achieving predoctoral students to engage in full-time research training under an established faculty mentor.  

Under the mentorship of Valerie Odero-Marah, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and assistant director of research at CCRTD, Burton is expected to develop into a productive, independent research scientist and become a highly competitive candidate for a postdoctoral fellowship.

Odero-Marah said, “Ms. Burton is one of the best graduate students I have worked with in my research.  She is focused, works well independently, and has contributed greatly to my laboratory.  I am truly proud of her achievements.”

Burton will characterize the role of the Snail-Cathepsin L signaling pathway in human breast cancer.  Specifically, her project focuses on a transcription factor, Snail, that encourages cancer cells to change their shape in favor of one that is motile and will invade the blood stream for transport (collectively metastasis), and will encourage the development of a blood network that provides nutrients to tumors (angiogenesis) in prostate and breast cancer.  It is believed that these studies will identify this signaling pathway as an attractive therapeutic target, not only for primary tumor growth and development, but also for tumors that have metastasized to distal organs.  

Burton has had several academic accomplishments since joining CAU.  This includes presenting her research at internationally recognized conferences and publishing two first-authored manuscripts, in addition to co-authored manuscripts from Odero-Marah’s lab group.

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Category: Research, Students
Keywords: CCRTD, Liza J. Burton