Three Grants Presented for Cancer-Related Research

By Ben Boulden


Feb. 12, 2014 | Newly awarded grants will expand research at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

The Envoys, a volunteer advocacy group of the Cancer Institute Foundation, presented three $10,000 Seeds of Science grants to young investigators for cancer-related research projects.

“As national grant funds become more and more limited, funding sources such as these Seeds of Science grants become more critical,” said Cancer Institute Director Peter Emanuel, M.D. “These grants help young scientists get the preliminary data they need to secure additional research funding down the road.”

Recipients of the grants were Ling Gao, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology in the UAMS College of Medicine; Robert L. Eoff, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the UAMS College of Medicine; and Mohammed S. Orloff, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the UAMS College of Public Health.

Gao’s research titled inhibition in Myc-amplified Merkel cell carcinoma,” is focused on discovering methods to inhibit growth of Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer for which there is no cure.

Eoff’s project, “Improving anti-cancer drugs through inhibition of translesion DNA polymerases,” will explore how the inhibition of a special class of enzymes called translesion polymerases can increase the potency of anti-cancer drugs that cause DNA damage and reduce adverse outcomes in cancer patients.

In his research project titled “Screening for mutations in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)-specific candidate genes in the population of Arkansas,” Orloff will examine how genetic and non-genetic factors influence the predisposition and severity of NSCLC, a main subgroup of lung cancer.

Money for the grants is raised at the Envoys’ annual RockStar Lounge event. This year’s event will be held April 26 at Rock Town Distillery in Little Rock and will feature Prince tribute band Vince and the Revelation. For information or to purchase tickets, visit