Each year, the UNC Postdoctoral Scholars Awards for Research Excellence are given in recognition of the research promise demonstrated by individual postdoctoral scholars. The awards are open to postdoctoral scholars in all disciplines and are designed to assist postdoctoral scholars in their continued professional development by supporting the recipients in conference travel, purchasing books, lab materials, or engaging in other scholarly activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth. Each recipient receives a monetary award of a $1000 along with a plaque.
Dr. Gaddameedhi trains as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Aziz Sancar, distinguished professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Dr. Gaddameedhi's work thus far in the lab and for which he received the UNC Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence has focused on the involvement of the circadian rhythm in UV-induced DNA damage signaling and skin carcinogenesis. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States (www.skincancer.org). More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually. Recently they made an important discovery that DNA repair rate exhibits daily rhythmicity in mouse skin, with a minimum in the morning and a maximum in the afternoon/evening. Therefore, we hypothesized that the mutagenicity and carcinogenicity of UVR exposure may be strongly affected by the time of day. Remarkably, they found that mice exposed to UVR in the early morning displayed an earlier onset and about a fivefold increased multiplicity of invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) than mice exposed in the evening. This study has important applications in making public health recommendations to reduce skin cancer risk from occupational, therapeutic, and recreational/cosmetic exposures to sunlight or other sources of UVR.