David C. Benjamin, a graduate student in the Hynes laboratory at the Koch Institute and a student in the Biology Department, has been awarded one of 10 nationally competitive 2013 Research Scholar Awards from the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation (JMNMF). The $10,000 grants support exceptional graduate student melanoma research and also provide distinction to lab directors, universities and cancer research institutions across the United States.
Benjamin will use the award to investigate the mechanisms that melanoma cells use to spread to distant sites throughout the body. This process, known as metastasis, is the primary cause of melanoma-related death. Through real-time imaging in a transparent strain of zebrafish, Benjamin hopes to discover exactly how metastasizing cancer cells manage to move out of the bloodstream and form new tumors at metastatic sites. In particular, he is interested in understanding the roles that certain “normal” immune cells play in helping cancer cells accomplish metastatic spread. Continue reading at MIT NEWS. Photo by The Koch Institute.