Deborah Kelly receives young investigator award from the Concern Foundation

Deborah F. Kelly, Ph.D.

Deborah F. Kelly, Ph.D.

Deborah Kelly, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, was named a recipient of a young investigator award from the Concern Foundation. This grant will provide funding for an analysis of how oxidative damage can give rise to breast cancer in BRCA1 gene mutations at a molecular level.

Oxidative damage is caused by the body’s inability to cleanse excess chemicals that result from cells exchanging information. Scientists think that this damage can induce uncontrollable cell division and lead to cancer. The damage is even more pronounced when the BRCA1 gene is mutated and loses its natural tumor suppressing control.

Kelly’s research uses innovative imaging techniques to view molecular details in a near-native state. By examining exactly how the BRCA1 protein interacts with other gene regulatory complexes in the cell, Kelly can learn how DNA damage accumulates to give rise to BRCA1-related cancers.