Brady wins Tabor award

for transition metal signaling

Published September 01 2016

Donita Brady received the Tabor Award in June at the FASEB Conference on Trace Elements in Biology and Medicine in Montana from JBC Associate Editor Ruma Banerjee. PHOTO COURTESY OF DONITA BRADY

Donita C. Brady won the Journal of Biological Chemistry/Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Award in recognition of her promising work at the interface of cancer biology, signal transduction and cellular use of transition metals. Brady is a presidential assistant professor in the department of cancer biology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Brady and her group are working to identify and characterize novel roles of transition metals in kinase signaling pathways in healthy cells. Previous studies by Brady’s group have identified a requirement for copper in the regulation of the kinase complex MEK1/2 in the MAPK pathway. Brady hopes this research ultimately will enable her lab to develop pharmacological interventions to target these metal-dependent pathways in cancer therapy.

Brady grew up near Virginia Beach and majored in chemistry at Radford College, where she also played Division I softball. She received her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a graduate student in the laboratory of Adrienne Cox, Brady described the mechanism by which an atypical Rho GTPase co-opts polarity proteins in epithelial cells to contribute to tumorigenic phenotypes. In her postdoctoral work at Duke University in the lab of Christopher Counter, she uncovered a link between copper acquisition and a mitogenic kinase signaling pathway. Her postdoctoral research since has contributed to the development of a new cancer therapy, and Brady hopes that her current work will continue to produce novel therapies.

Melissa Bowman Melissa Bowman is a scientist and health policy communicator in Washington, D.C.