Charles Sentman and Yolanda Sanchez Named as Friends Scholars
December 29, 2009
Charles L. Sentman, PhD, and Yolanda Sanchez, PhD, have been named as the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center Research Scholars for 2010. The award nurtures innovative cancer research and supports early- to mid-career scientists working in areas central to the mission of the Cancer Center.
Dr. Sentman is an associate professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Director of the Cancer Center's Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy Research Program, of which he has been an active member since 2002. Dr. Sentman has focused his research on the role of natural killer (NK) cells in tumor immunity. NK cells are part of the innate immune response and have the ability to recognize tumor cells. What draws the NK cells into the tumor environment? How do NK cells identify tumor cells? What makes NK cells activate against tumor cells? By addressing these questions, Dr. Sentman is searching for mechanisms that spark activation of immune responses to specific tumor cells.
Dr. Sanchez is an associate professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Director of the Cancer Center's Molecular Biology Shared Resource. She has been an active member of the Cancer Center's Molecular Therapeutics Research Program since 2004. She studies "checkpoint" signaling pathways that regulate cell division, DNA repair, and cell death, and their role in the origin and treatment of cancer. Recent studies have looked at an enzyme called Chk1 that stops cell division when DNA is damaged; some people have a mutation in the genes that generate Chk1. She is seeking to understand exactly what effect this Chk 1 mutation has on cells during the development of a tumor, and see whether Chk1 might be an effective target for cancer therapy.