Jacob Gump, Ph.D, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of University of Colorado Cancer Center (UCCC) deputy director Andrew Thorburn, Ph.D., has received a $150,000, three-year fellowship from the American Cancer Society.
The award helps new cancer researchers who have doctoral degrees with initial funding to pave the road to an independent cancer research career. Gump, who received his Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of California San Diego, is studying the role of autophagy — cellular self-digestion — in leukemia and lymphoma.
"I'm excited and proud to have my first fellowship," Gump said. "This is the first step to securing a junior faculty position."
Gump became interested in cancer research after working in the lab of Stephen Hunger, M.D., UCCC associate director for pediatrics and director of pediatric hematology/oncology at The Children's Hospital.
"When kids get cancer, it's horrible," Gump says. "I think the last 30 to 40 years have taught us that a lot of pediatric cancers are curable, and if we can learn more we can cure those kids who still don't do well. I want to be a part of that."
Specifically, Gump is working to understand if targeting the autophagy process in cancer cells helps or hurts the cancer's survival.