The UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility (CEHS) Pilot Projects Program stimulates innovative and collaborative research by providing short-term funding to aid investigators in collecting preliminary data or demonstrate the feasibility of their idea. The pilot projects are eligible for the following types of investigators: new investigators developing a research program in an area of environmental health relevant to the Center, established investigators pursuing an innovative research line involving new collaborations, and established investigators in other research areas, who have an interest in applying their expertise to Center-related issues. Each year, a varied number of awards are given to UNC researchers and the three awardees in 2011 each received $25,000 funding for their projects.
One of the awardees is Shobhan Gaddameedhi, postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Aziz Sancar, Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Notably, Shobhan was the only postdoctoral fellow to have a proposal funded this year. His project is titled "Role of the Circadian Clock in UV-Induced Skin Carcinogenesis." His abstract is provided below. For more information on this research, please contact Dr. Gaddameedhi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abstract: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is a well-known human skin carcinogen. Exposure to the UVR causes DNA damage by generating photoproducts in DNA. In humans, these photoproducts are solely repaired by the process of nucleotide excision repair, and the loss of this repair system is strongly correlated with the development of skin cancer. We recently discovered that the circadian clock regulates nucleotide excision repair in mouse. Our preliminary results suggest that UV-induced DNA repair capacity varies in mouse skin as a function of time of day reaching its maximum in the evening (4 pm) and its minimum in the morning (4 am).The overall goal of this project is to understand how the circadian clock controls cellular responses to UV-induced DNA damage and to determine whether UV exposure at certain times of the day is more likely to cause skin cancer. These studies establish a rational for chrono-photo biology and suggests at what time of the day would be best for sunlight exposure and use of tanning beds.