MD/PhD Student Maggie Pruitt Lands Prestigious Predoctoral Fellowship

Maggie Pruitt, an MD-PhD student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, who is conducting her doctoral research in the laboratory of Stowers and HHMI Investigator Peter Baumann, PhD, was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award through the National Cancer Institute. This highly competitive award supports talented predoctoral students throughout PhD and MD phases of training.

Pruitt investigates the basic biology of telomeres and telomerase. Telomerase is a protein complex that elongates chromosome ends prior to cell division and is critical for cell survival. But in many cancers, telomerase is overactive which allows the cells to continue extending their telomeres and replicating.

More specifically, Pruitt studies the effects of telomere sequence on telomerase activity and telomere function. With this study, she hopes to identify strategies that will impair telomerase activity or destabilize telomeres in cancer cells, and ultimately improve therapy for some cancer patients.