Greg Wang receives an ASH Scholar Award

Congratulations to Greg Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics who is the recipient of an American Society of Hematology Scholar Award.

The American Society of Hematology Scholar Awards provide monetary support for fellows and junior faculty pursuing research careers to assist them during the critical period in which they must complete their training and achieve status as an independent investigator.

The awards, totaling $100,000 for fellows and $150,000 for junior faculty over a two- to three-year period, are made possible through grants from the corporate community, individual donors, foundations, and funds committed by the Society.

Dr. Wang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship with David Allis in the laboratory of Chromatin Biology & Epigenetics at Rockefeller University in New York.

Since joining the faculty at UNC, he has been awarded a UNC Jefferson Pilot Fellowship in Academic Medicine (2013) and a Martin D. Abeloff, MD V Scholar Award from the V Foundation for Cancer Research (2011). He is also currently completing a Howard Temin ‘Pathway to Independence’ Award in Cancer Research from the National Cancer Institute (2010–present). Research in his lab emphasizes chromatin biology and epigenetics.

Chromatin is a combination of nucleic acids and types of proteins called histones that package DNA inside cells. Essentially, chromatin is a platform for how genes regulate their own function. A lot of gene regulation occurs on chromatin; it controls whether DNA is available or not – whether genes are “on” or “off” in specific cells.

This is important in cancer biology because there are a lot of proteins – often enzymes –involved in regulating chromatin. These enzymes either add tiny chemical modifications onto chromatin, or they act as motors that slide onto chromatin to open or close down a gene’s expression.

Often, enzymes are good drug targets because scientists can design a compound to inhibit their activity.

Dr. Wang’s lab is focused on finding such enzymes – and how precisely chromatin works – so that he and colleagues can create better therapies for cancer patients.

Read this Five Questions with Greg Wang to learn more about his work.

ASH Award announcement: http://www.hematology.org/Newsroom/Press-Releases/2014/1325.aspx