“The Banting Foundation Discovery Award is a highly competitive and prestigious award for new investigators,” said Chuck Macdonald, dean of the Faculty of Science. “Biggar’s award underlines the outstanding quality of his record and his ground-breaking research into the potential causes of cancer. We are very proud of his success and anticipate even greater achievements in the future.”
Biggar conducts research on identifying of new substrates of the histone methyltransferase enzyme, SMYD3, and their implication in lung cancer development.
“We know that a single gene mutation does not initiate the development of disease, but rather the dysregulation of a system of proteins initiates the process and drives progression,” said Biggar. “By studying how a protein function changes in diseased cells, our research explores how a family of proteins called lysine methyltransferases (KMT) influence tumour growth and chemotherapy resistance. This provides critical information on how changes in the protein system drives disease progression, and how best to target these proteins for therapy.”
Lysine methylation plays a critical role in the development of many human diseases. These small chemical protein modifications allow cells to exert greater control over protein function. Importantly, proteins that control this lysine methylation modification are often major drivers of cancer.
About the Discovery Award
The Discovery Award is a one-year grant of up to $25,000 for innovative health and biomedical research projects by outstanding new investigators at universities and research institutes in Canada who are within the first three years of their first academic appointment. The intent is to provide seed funding so that applicants are able to gather pilot data to enhance their competitiveness for other sources of funding. We are usually able to fund about six projects per year.
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