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  College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Biochemist receives Burroughs
Wellcome Fund Award

Dr. Carla Mattos, assistant professor of Biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been awarded a New Investigator Award in the Pharmaceutical or Toxicological Sciences from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF).

Photo by Herman Lankford

Mattos is one of only 11 researchers nationwide — and the only researcher from a university in North Carolina — to receive a BWF New Investigator Award in Pharmacological or Toxicological Sciences this year.

The award, worth $210,000 over three years, will help support Mattos’ research on macromolecular complexes in the cell.

Macromolecular interactions are central to the proper functioning, regulation and specificity of any cellular processes, such as signaling, transport and replication. Mattos particularly focuses on protein-protein interactions. The tools used to study the principles underlying specific macromolecular recognition include protein crystallography and computational biophysics. The award will fund research in her lab on the surface features of the GTPase Ral, a signal transduction protein implicated in the assembly and function of actin cytoskeleton (which supports the cell’s plasma membrane) and in mediating both phospholipid and calcium signaling within the cell. Ral is closely related to and is regulated by Ras, a GTPase whose oncogenic mutants are involved in about 30 percent of human cancers and which is also a subject of study in Mattos’ laboratory. Funding begins July 1.

In addition to N.C. State, other universities with BWF award recipients in pharmacological or toxicological sciences this year include Stanford University, Princeton University, Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other top-tier national research institutions.

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