AACR-Aflac, Inc. Career Development Award for Pediatric Cancer Research

The AACR-Aflac, Inc. Career Development Award for Pediatric Cancer Research represents a joint effort to encourage and support junior faculty to conduct pediatric cancer research and establish successful career paths in this field. Funded research has direct applicability and relevance to pediatric cancer.

2018 Grantee

Claudia Benavente, PhD

Claudia Benavente, PhD

Assistant Professor
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, California
Role of UHRF1 in osteosarcoma

Genetic alterations at the RB1 gene are associated with poor prognosis in osteosarcoma. However, the precise mechanism through which this occurs is unknown. UHRF1, a protein overexpressed in osteosarcoma, directly interacts with RB1. Further, the RB/E2F pathway directly regulates UHRF1 expression. Dr. Benavente aims to determine the mechanism(s) through which UHRF1 contributes to tumor progression to help design novel therapeutic interventions for osteosarcoma treatment.

Dr. Benavente received her PhD in cancer biology at The University of Arizona as a Fulbright Scholar. As a postdoctoral fellow at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, she began studying the role of the RB pathway epigenetic regulation. Dr. Benavente is currently an assistant professor in the Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Developmental and Cell Biology at UCI, where she continues to conduct basic and translational research in childhood solid tumors.

Acknowledgement of Support
The AACR-Aflac Career Development Award will offer the support necessary to ensure this project reaches publication. At the same time, it provides the resources to strengthen the project foundations that are necessary for securing long-term funding and establish my independent career in the field of pediatric cancer research.