FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 21, 2009


CONTACT:

Karen Mallet
215-514-9751
km463@georgetown.edu


GUMC Young Scientist Selected Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA-Funded National Space Biomedical Research Institute


Washington, DC – The National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) has selected Daniela Trani, PhD, of Georgetown University Medical Center as one of four young investigators in the nation for its 2008-2010 Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Trani is a postdoctoral fellow in Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology.

In the NSBRI, the Fellows' research projects address areas of interest to exploration missions and include investigating methods to maintain bone health and stimulate bone rebuilding. Additionally, the Fellows examine the acute effects of space radiation exposure to determine whether there are adverse as well as radioprotective changes in cells following proton exposure.

Trani’s research will investigate injury responses including inflammatory signaling induced by space radiation. The study will use a genetic approach in an in vivo model to investigate the effects of radiation-induced inflammatory signaling on cellular and molecular parameters in the intestine. Exposures, such as during a solar storm, could impact crew performance by perturbing gastrointestinal function.

"As the space program prepares for larger crews on the International Space Station and plans a return to the moon, America needs young scientists with a keen interest in solving the human health problems related to long stays in space," said Jeffrey P. Sutton, PhD, MD, NSBRI director.

The two-year program offers Fellows the opportunity to manage their own space-related biomedical research project while continuing to learn from an experienced faculty mentor. Trani is a research fellow in her mentor’s lab, Albert J. Fornace Jr., MD, a professor of oncology who holds the Molecular Cancer Research Chair at Lombardi.

NSBRI Fellows receive a $40,000 stipend and funds to cover health insurance and travel to NSBRI-related meetings. Fellows also attend a summer institute that provides an introduction to NASA Johnson Space Center's research facilities and programs.

“The NSBRI Fellowship represents a unique opportunity to pursue my research related to NASA-Life Science Program in an unique scientific environment and with the mentorship of an outstanding scientist like Dr. Fornace. My training will benefit from the constant interaction with investigators on the NSBRI Radiation Effects Team whose research is focused on determining the risks posed by space radiation exposure and on developing countermeasures to minimize these risks. Furthermore, the multidisciplinary training I will receive in Dr. Fornace’s lab will contribute to expand my skills and to broaden my perspective on space radiobiology problems.”

To be selected, applicants submit detailed research project proposals to investigate a solution to a space health risk or to develop a technology needed to enable research or medical care in space. The research must involve a mentor and be carried out at a U.S. laboratory doing space-related biomedical or biotechnological research.

Funded by NASA, NSBRI studies the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight with peer-reviewed science, technology and education projects at more than 60 institutions across the United States.

The Institute's science and technology projects address bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular changes, balance and orientation, radiation exposure, neurobehavioral and psychosocial factors, remote medical care and related technologies, and habitability and performance issues such as sleep cycles and lunar dust exposure. Research findings also impact the understanding and treatment of similar medical conditions experienced on Earth.

About Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area. For more information, go to http://lombardi.georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through our partnership with MedStar Health). Our mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, the world-renowned Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), home to 60 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.

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