Nicholas Brown Earns MIRA from NIH

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences awarded Nicholas G. Brown $1.25 million over five years for research aimed at investigating the regulation of the enzyme known as the Anaphase-Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C) to ultimately understand cell cycle progression.

Nicholas Brown Earns MIRA from NIH click to enlarge Nicholas Brown, PhD

Nicholas G. Brown, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health to deepen our understanding of the cell cycle. The grant, totaling $1.25 million over five years, is a Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). MIRAs are intended to increase the efficiency of NIGMS funding by providing investigators with greater stability and flexibility to enhance scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs.

Cell cycle deregulation is a hallmark of cancer. Proper cell cycle control requires proteins to be destroyed at specific times. A complicated molecular machine responsible for marking proteins for destruction is the massive enzyme known as the Anaphase-Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C). This process is tightly regulated and is disrupted in numerous cancers. Despite its significance, it remains unclear how the APC/C works and how it is regulated.

To develop new therapies, Brown’s research aims to determine the parts of these proteins that interact with each other, understand the functional consequences of the interactions, and take snapshots to visualize protein-protein interactions. These studies will provide a unique understanding of the cell cycle and may uncover new targets for anti-cancer therapeutics.

Check out this video about Brown’s research into the Anaphase-Promoting Complex/Cyclosome.

The MIRA program distributes funding more widely among the nation's highly talented and promising investigators. More information can be found at the NIGMS website.