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Alexandra D’Amico

Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery, 2022 University of Texas at Austin

Determining the Impacts of Age on Genetic Instability


Aging is one of the most important risk factors for cancer development, with over half of new cancer cases occurring in individuals 65 years or older. With the aging population increasing, it is imperative that we better understand the relationship between aging and cancer development. A hallmark of both aging and cancer is genetic instability, a term for events that cause mutations or changes to our DNA and the resulting biological processes. Alternative structures in our DNA can cause genetic instability and are commonly associated with cancers such as leukemia and lymphomas. Using animal models, my research focuses on understanding how aging affects the genetic instability caused by one of these alternative DNA structures, H-DNA. Additionally, I will investigate how aging can influence the DNA repair processes responsible for maintaining genome integrity. The results from this study will provide insight into how aging impacts genetic instability and contributes to increased cancer risk, aiding in the development of novel therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment.

I feel incredibly honored to receive the PhRMA foundation fellowship and the amazing opportunities it provides. This fellowship not only allows me to pursue my graduate research, but also lets me be a part of a diverse and translational community of accomplished scientists.

Alexandra D’Amico

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