Supporting young "science stars”—those who emerge as potential innovators in their field—is critically important—particularly during career-building years, says Shuk-mei Ho, PhD, Jacob A. Schmidlapp Chair and Professor of the UC Department of Environmental Health.
UC environmental health research associate Hung-ming Lam, PhD, has repeatedly proven to be one of those stars.
Lam’s most recent proof of promise was being named a 2012 Steve Wynn – Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Young Investigator Award recipient. She will receive a $225,000 grant from the foundation to pursue her work on estrogen receptor and prostate cancer as part of Ho’s research lab.
Since 2008, the Prostate Cancer Foundation has identified an elite group of scientists for Young Investigator Award funding, with the goal of funding 100 investigators by the end of 2012. The Prostate Cancer Foundation is a leading philanthropic organization for funding and accelerating prostate cancer research globally.
"Dr. Lam has great potential as a cancer scientist. I encouraged her to apply for this award because she is so talented and contributes immensely to the research we do here,” says Ho.
UC’s environmental health department is committed to supporting young investigators and has committed resources to aid Lam on her path to independent research.
Lam was part of a UC environmental health department-based team that identified G protein-coupled receptor 30 (GPR30) a new therapeutic target in prostate cancer. She will seek to validate this new target in human tissue samples with the goal of developing a more effective means of treating advanced prostate disease without compromising quality of life.
As Lam explains: "There is no curative treatment for advanced hormone refractory prostate cancer, and chemotherapy poses major side effects, immensely reducing the quality of life of patients. We are testing whether GPR30 is a good target for this end-stage prostate cancer or not.”
A total of 148 applicants applied for 2012 Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator funding and over 74 global professionals reviewed these applications, which addressed 29 specialized scientific areas within prostate cancer research.
"I’m honored by this recognition and look forward to moving this translational research concept forward,” adds Lam.