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Dr. Keriayn Smith was awarded a UNC Idea Grant for her project titled “Cyrano: An Oncogene in Neuroblastoma?”.

This new pilot funding program was established in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and provides initial support to projects (up to $20,000 for one year) so that researchers can develop novel ideas and be more competitive for additional external funding. Dr. Smith’s proposal focuses on a long noncoding (lnc) RNA (Cyrano) that shows high expression in neuroblastoma cell lines, suggesting that it may function as an oncogenic lncRNA in neuroblastoma tumors. The study will examine interacting proteins previously implicated in neuroblastoma and test the outcome of lncRNA modulation, informing the diagnostic and prognostic potential of Cyrano in this cancer.