Eric Zimmerman received one of the 2011 Impact Awards given to UNC graduate students to recognize their contributions to the state. Eric received his award for his research to identify the underlying mechanisms of drug resistance in leukemia.
15,000 people in the state of North Carolina have leukemia and 650 are estimated to have died from it in 2010. While chemotherapy is a helpful therapy in the prevention of death, drug resistance remains a problem. Eric, a graduate student in the Department of Pharmacology who recently received his Ph.D., focused his research on the expression of kinase in leukemia patients at the N.C. Cancer Hospital. Kinases mediate molecular signals and affect cell survival. Eric looked in particular at the Lyn Kinase, and the pathway by which it promotes leukemia drug resistance. Eric's research to better understand the underlying mechanisms of kinases and how they contribute to leukemia cell survival may lead to new approaches in the treatment of drug-resistant leukemia.