Basic Research Laboratory

Co-Chiefs
Joel P. Schneider, Ph.D.
Lawrence E. Samelson, M.D.

The Basic Research Laboratory (BRL) plans and conducts research on the cellular, molecular, genetic, biochemical, and immunological mechanisms affecting the progression, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Many of the researchers in the BRL actively collaborate with scientists from other NCI research programs and from other institutes within the NIH.


There are no Open Positions at this time, check back again later.


Le Grice Lab Awards and Recognition - 2003-2018

2018

Federal Technology Transfer Award - Stuart Le Grice received a Federal Technology Transfer Award based on submission of US Patent Applications 62/598807 entitled "Chemical entities for lytic activation of KSHV and therapeutic targeting of viral enzymes/proteins", 62/685026 entitled “Cancer Treatment Methods”, and 62/685145 entitled “Methods of Treating HBV”

RNA Society-Sponsored RNA Salon - Stuart Le Grice and Nathan Baird (University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA) successfully re-competed for an RNA Society RNA Salon Award to establish the “Noncoding RNA and Therapeutic Discovery Interest Group”


2017

Sallie Rosen Kaplan (SRK) Fellowship - Chringma Sherpa received an SRK Fellowship, a highly competitive, unpaid, annual, one-year program that provides additional mentoring opportunities, networking, seminars, and workshops to help prepare NCI’s female postdoctoral fellows for the competitive nature of the job market and help them to transition to independent research careers. The program addresses the fact that, based on recent observational, longitudinal, and intervention studies, women in science are significantly more likely to leave the science field earlier than men, specifically at the transition from a mentored scientist to an independent investigator.

Directors Intramural Innovation Award - Fardokht Abulwerdi received a Director’s Intramural Innovation Award of $10,000 based on her proposal to identify small molecule antagonists of the MALAT1 ENE triple helix.

Fellows Award in Research Excellence (FARE) - Chringma Sherpa was a FARE awardee based on her work deciphering the in vivo structure of the lncRNA, Meg3.

RNA Society-Sponsored RNA Salon - Stuart Le Grice and Nathan Baird (University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA) were co-recipients of an RNA Society RNA Salon Award to establish the “Noncoding RNA and Therapeutic Discovery Interest Group”

Assistant Professorship – Auburn University - Joanna Sztuba-Solinska joined the Department of Biological Sciences, Auburn University, as an Assistant Professor.

FLEX Award - Stuart Le Grice, Jay Schneekloth and Tom Misteli were recipients of a 1-year FLEX award extension to investigate small molecule targeting of regulatory viral and cellular RNAs


2016

DHHS Secretary’s Career Achievement Award - Stuart Le Grice received the DHHS Secretary’s Career Achievement Award, in recognition of “Outstanding administrative and scientific contributions to furthering the national and international mission of the National Institutes of Health”.


2015

FLEX Award - Stuart Le Grice, Jay Schneekloth and Tom Misteli were recipients of a 3-year FLEX award to investigate small molecule targeting of regulatory viral and cellular RNAs

2014

NICBR Collaborative Project Award - Joanna Sztuba-Solinska received a $10,000 award to work with USAMRIID under the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research (NICBR).  The title of her research proposal is "Therapeutic targeting of structural motifs of the Dengue virus RNA genome."

International Fellow of NCI at Frederick - Joanna Sztuba-Solinska was honored as one of five “International Fellows of NCI at Frederick”.  She received this award in recognition of her achievements and contributions toward the mission of the NCI at Frederick community.  As a postdoctoral fellow in the HIV DRP, she has focused her research on the exploration of RNA structural elements in the development of small-molecule therapeutic intervention of cancers and viral diseases.  Details of her research interests and achievements are currently on display in the NCI at Frederick Conference Center.

Fellows Award in Research Excellence (FARE) - Takashi Masaoka was a FARE awardee based on his work to develop inhibitors of retroviral and herpesvirus enzymes

2012

SAIC Corporate Award - Marion Bona was one of four SAIC-Frederick employees who were recognized among the winners of the annual SAIC Corporate Science Technology Fellows Council awards for publications that are considered to represent the very best of SAIC technical publications in the past year.  She and Eckart Bindewald (CCR Nanobiology Program) won in the Physical Sciences category for their article, “Correlating SHAPE Signatures with Three-dimensional RNA Structures,” published in RNA (17:1688–1696, Cold Spring Laboratory Press, 2011).  In selecting Bindewald and Bona’s article, the council commented that their paper was a “well-written paper documenting a new approach to interpreting SHAPE data, which will lead to a better understanding of RNA structure.”

2011

NCI Director's Intramural Innovation Award - Sabrina Lusvarghi received a $10,000 NCI Director's Intramural Innovation Award for her application entitled "Incorporation of Cross-linkable Unnatural Amino Acids for Identifying Binding Partners for XMRV Proteins."  Site-specific incorporation of unnatural amino acids into proteins is a growing area of chemical biology and biochemistry, and the availability of unnatural amino acids with novel biophysical properties is constantly widening the scope of these strategies.  The goal of Dr. Lusvarghi’s proposal involves incorporating photo-crosslinkable unnatural amino acids into viable viruses, an approach that is currently unprecedented.  The novelty of this strategy is that the photo-crosslinkable viruses can be used to study protein-protein interactions in their most-biologically relevant context.  Moreover, previously unknown binding partners identified using this approach could serve as targets for novel antiviral therapies.  Finally, success in this initial investigation will likely spawn parallel studies to identify and characterize binding partners of other XMRV proteins or proteins in related retroviruses of public health significance.

John T. Carey Memorial Lecture - Stuart Le Grice was nominated to give the Annual John. T. Carey Memorial Lecture at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Ohio.

2010

Directors Intramural Innovation award - Michal Legiewicz received a $10,000 NCI Director's Intramural Innovation Award for his research proposal entitled "Structural Responses in Tumor Suppressor Messenger RNAs Induced by micro-RNA miR-21 in Breast Cancer."  Dr. Legiewicz initiated this project to investigate how the structure of messenger RNA responds to downregulation by microRNA.  While down-regulation by miR-21 and its binding to target mRNAs have been tested in functional and binding assays, the structural response of target mRNAs is unknown.  Dr. Legiewicz's study employs a novel high-throughput RNA-probing technology to monitor structural rearrangements within 3'- and 5'-UTRs in response to miRNA modulation.  He is investigating whether the binding of miR-21 invokes translational inhibition by rearranging a local subdomain or by altering the architecture of long-range interactions within its target mRNAs (which range in size from ~2000-4000 nucleotides).  In order to explore the hypothesis that miR-21 triggers a common structural response in target mRNA causing translational inhibition, Dr. Legiewicz selected three mRNAs for his study.  Each is a direct target of miR-21 and is downregulated in breast cancer.  The results of his study will reveal a novel mechanistic basis for miRNA-directed regulation of gene expression and new molecular targets critical in designing more potent therapies against breast cancer and against cancer in general.  This award is the second that Dr. Legiewicz has received through the NCI Director's Intramural Innovation Award Program (see the text below for a description of his first award).

2009

NCI-Frederick Student Science Jeopardy Tournament - Brittany Ashe and David Kaiser-Jones won the 3rd Annual NCI-Frederick Scientific Library Student Science Jeopardy Tournament in 2009, competing against 11 other 2-student teams in the traditional Jeopardy "answer and question" format.  Brittany and David are students working in the Le Grice lab with mentors Jason Rausch and Michal Legiewicz, respectively.

NCI Mentor of Merit Award - Stuart Le Grice was nominated for the NCI Outstanding Mentor Award and was one of the highest rankings in a competitive review in which nominees were "judged on their records as mentors; their accessibility to trainees; their ability to communicate and provide instruction and constructive feedback; their capacity to provide an environment conducive to science and learning; their propensity to give credit to trainees and promote visibility of their work; and their attention to the career development needs of those they mentor."

NIH Merit Award - Stuart Le Grice was nominated and selected to receive a 2009 NIH Merit Award with Robert Yarchoan (HIV and AIDS Malignancy Branch, NCI).  Robert Wiltrout, Director of the Center for Cancer Research, NCI, nominated Drs. Le Grice and Yarchoan for this Group Award, titled HIV/AIDS and HIV Malignancy Leadership Group, for leadership in promoting and supporting research in HIV/AIDS and HIV-associated malignancies in the NCI.

Fellows Award in Research Excellence (FARE) - Michaela Wendeler was a FARE awardee based on her work using unnatural amino acids to study protein structure and function.

Yi Wang received a FARE award for her studies on XMRV RT.

Assistant Professorship – Meharry Medical College - Chandravanu Dash joined the faculty Meharry Medical School, Nashville, Tennessee as an Assistant Professor.

2008

Directors Intramural Innovation award - Michal Legiewicz was co-awardee of $10,000 from the NCI Director's Intramural Innovation Award Program in 2008 for the proposal "Structural Determinants Within the 5'-UTR of Cancer-Relevant mRNAs Regulated at the Level of Translation."  The NCI Director's Intramural Innovation Award Program is designed to support the development of highly innovative approaches and technology aimed at significant cancer-related problems.  Deregulation of protein synthesis is an early event in cancer progression.  In recent years, considerable effort has been focused on translation as a molecular target for both cancer prevention and therapy.  The novel tumor suppressor PDCD4 functions by inhibiting the RNA helicase activity of the eukaryotic initiation factor eIF4A and hence the efficient translation of specific oncoproteins.  Applying the innovative RNA mapping technology SHAPE to determine structural signatures within the 5'-UTR of various mRNAs will explain why only select mRNAs are targets of PDCD4.  In high throughput, SHAPE will allow examination of multiple RNAs simultaneously or the same RNA under various conditions.  This unique feature makes it possible to monitor minor RNA structural response to the presence/activity of protein factors at different concentrations and test the significance of other co-factors that are important for RNA structure (e.g., divalent cations) or for protein enzymatic function (e.g., ATP).  No other technology offers this unusual combination of sensitivity, flexibility for applied conditions, and high throughput.  High-throughput identification of structural signatures defining oncogenic mRNAs will have tremendous potential in the discovery and design of novel, powerful anticancer drugs.

2007

NCI Mentor of Merit Award - Stuart Le Grice was nominated for the NCI Outstanding Mentor Award and was selected as a Mentor of Merit.  Dr. Le Grice received one of the highest rankings in a competitive review in which nominees were "judged on their records as mentors; their accessibility to trainees; their ability to communicate and provide instruction and constructive feedback; their capacity to provide an environment conducive to science and learning; their propensity to give credit to trainees and promote visibility of their work; and their attention to the career development needs of those they mentor."

Howard Temin Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) - Chandravanu Dash received a K99/R00 Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for his proposal "Role of Nucleic Acid Structure in HIV-1 Replication."  The long-term goal of Dr. Dash's PI award was to elucidate the mechanism of interactions between essential viral and cellular enzymes with their nucleic acid substrates during HIV replication.  New and important biochemical data obtained from this proposal would facilitate our understanding of the mechanism of HIV-1 replication, which is essential to designing better and effective drugs against HIV.  Dr. Dash was mentored by Dr. Stuart Le Grice and co-mentored by Dr. Vineet KewalRamani of the HIV DRP at NCI-Frederick. He is now an Assistant Professor in the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research at Meharry Medical College; his research program is focused on understanding how drugs of abuse influence HIV/AIDS.

Fellows Award in Research Excellence (FARE) - Chandravanu Dasah was a FARE awardee based on his work on studying HIV RT function using nucleosidec analog mutagenersis

2006

Directors Innovation award - Jason Rausch  was awarded $10,000 from the NCI Director's Intramural Innovation Award Program.  Dr. Rausch's innovation, "Evolving Sequence-Specific Integrases and Methyltransferases by In Vitro Compartmentalization and Selection," uses a novel methodology to simultaneously screen millions of enzyme variants, with selection based both on targeted binding/activity and the absence of nonspecific binding activity.  Directed evolution has never been applied in this manner to either of these enzymes, and some of the proposed methods for linking phenotype with genotype are unprecedented.  Dr. Wu's innovation, "Recombinant Human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase," makes it possible to express and purify enzymatically active recombinant human telomerase.  This advance will allow a much better understanding of the structure and function of human telomerase and has the potential to be used to develop novel anticancer therapies.

2003

Associate Professorship – Ohio State University - Mamuka Kvaratskhelia joined the faculty in the Pharmacy Department, Ohio State University, as an Associate Professor.

About

The Basic Research Laboratory (BRL) plans and conducts research on the cellular, molecular, genetic, biochemical, and immunological mechanisms affecting the progression, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Many of the researchers in the BRL actively collaborate with scientists from other NCI research programs and from other institutes within the NIH.

PI & Key Staff

Positions


There are no Open Positions at this time, check back again later.


Contact Info

Basic Research Laboratory
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 576, Room 107
Frederick, MD 21702-1201
Secretary
301-846-5703