Syracuse University researcher receives major American Cancer Society grant for leukemia research
Syracuse University researcher receives major American Cancer Society grant for leukemia researchApril 27, 2009Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Michael Cosgrove, assistant professor of biology in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, has received a $720,000 Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society. The grant will enable Cosgrove to further his work in leukemia research.
Cosgrove studies the biochemical structure of proteins in cells. His leukemia research focuses on one of the proteins that regulates the way DNA is packaged when white blood cells are formed. The protein is called the Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) protein. In normal cells, the MLL protein, which contains 3,969 amino acids, combines with three other proteins to create a molecular switch that controls the DNA packaging events required for the formation of white blood cells. In some types of leukemia, the MLL switch is broken, which prevents white blood cells from maturing properly. The result is a dangerous proliferation of immature white blood cells, which can lead to leukemia.
“It is believed that leukemia develops when this switch works too fast or too slow,” Cosgrove says. “The goal of our research is to understand how this MLL switch works and to use the information to find new medicines that will fix broken switches that cause normal cells to transform into leukemia cells.”
Cosgrove earned a Ph.D. at Syracuse University and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Cornell University. His research has also received funding from the Leukemia Research Foundation, the Basil O’Conner Award from the March of Dimes Foundation and a start-up grant from SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. Further information about his research is available on the Web at http://biology.syr.edu/cosgrove/index.html.