Titia de Lange Wins $400,000 American Cancer Society Grant

The Rockefeller University lab head is also named an American Cancer Society Research Professor.

Titia de Lange, a long time member of the Academy and an organizer of the Academy's Genome Integrity Discussion Group, was named an American Cancer Society Research Professor and was awarded a $400,000 grant from the society. De Lange is Leon Hess Professor and head of the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics at the Rockefeller University. The five-year grant will fund her continuing research on telomeres.

De Lange’s lab focuses on mammalian telomeres, which are made up of long arrays of double-stranded nucleotide repeats that end in a single-stranded overhang. Telomerase, an enzyme that recognizes this overhang, adds nucleotide repeats to chromosome ends in order to counteract the telomere shortening that occurs during cell division. Most human cells, however, do not contain telomerase, and the degradation of telomeres that thus occurs through many cycles of cell division leads to aging and eventual death of those cells. Cancer cells, on the other hand, often contain high levels of telomerase, allowing them to proliferate indefinitely. The goal of de Lange’s research is to understand how telomeres protect chromosome ends, how they interact with and regulate telomerase, and what happens when telomere function is lost.