Biologist Arvind Subramaniam receives $920K NSF award to study Certain Cells

Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center computational and molecular biologist Dr. Arvind Subramaniam has received a five-year, $920,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to develop computational models of how cells cope with stalled protein synthesis, the research center said in a Jan. 30 news release.

“It gives us an opportunity to explore a direction we would otherwise find very hard to do with traditional funding mechanisms,” Subramaniam, who has also obtained National Institutes of Health funding to study the same process in human cells, said in a statement.

“The NSF is more willing to fund projects that are not directly medically relevant. It’s fantastic. A precise understanding of biology is what we want, but you can’t start with a complex disease system,” the Indian American researcher added. “This gives us a really nice way to test our intuition using rigorous computational models.”

Cells rely on proteins for all their functions, and Subramaniam's research will shed light on how protein synthesis goes awry in diseases such as cancer, the release noted.

The creation of proteins is fundamental to life.

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