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Postdoctoral Fellow James Fells, Sr., PhD Receives $150,000 Grant


James Fells, Sr., PhD, has received funding from the American Cancer Society.

James Fells, Sr., PhD, has received funding from the American Cancer Society (ACS) through a postdoctoral fellowship. The $150,000 award will help further research for his study being conducted in the Department of Physiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). The funding will be distributed during a three-year period for his study, entitled, “Developing Selective LPA2 Antagonists as Anti-Cancer Agents.”

Dr. Fells’ research uses computer-aided drug discovery to identify small molecules targeting a protein, LPA2. The goal is to develop LPA2 antagonists for the treatment of breast cancer. “We plan to use these drugs in combination with conventional treatment to improve therapy,” he said. The fellowship provides independent funding that allows Dr. Fells to pursue training in cancer discovery.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from the American Cancer Society,” Dr. Fells said. “The excellent guidance of my postdoctoral mentors will aid in my goal of designing novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer.”

Dr. Fells is currently an ACS Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Gabor Tigyi, MD, PhD, who is chairman and Harriet Van Vleet Professor in the UTHSC Department of Physiology.

Dianna Johnson, PhD, director of the Postdoctoral Office at UTHSC, noted that Dr. Fells’ award from ACS is significant because it represents the success they would like to see for all postdoctoral students, who are examining new therapies for cancer. “The award will fund cutting-edge research that will uncover new knowledge directly applicable in the treatment of cancer. At the same time, it will provide exemplary training for Dr. Fells as he prepares for his own independent research program,” said Dr. Johnson, who is also a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., ACS has 12 chartered divisions, more than 900 offices nationwide, and a presence in more than 5,100 communities. For more information, visit www.cancer.org.