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AACR-Swim Across America Cancer Research Fellowship

The AACR-Swim Across America Cancer Research Fellowship represents a joint effort to encourage and support a postdoctoral or clinical research fellow to conduct cancer research and establish a successful career path.

2020 Grantee

Manisha Jalan, DPhil

Manisha Jalan, DPhil

Research Scholar
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Alternate DNA repair pathways in homologous recombination-deficient cancers

Genome instability has long been considered the primary driver of most cancer types. It is well established that double strand breaks (DSBs) in DNA, if not repaired faithfully, can lead to mutations and chromosomal rearrangements and even cell death. Homologous recombination (HR) has long been the preferred method to deal with DSBs due to its error-free nature. Thus, in HR-deficient tumors, there must exist several alternate repair pathways to keep cells alive, some of which have recently been recognized. This project aims to develop a high throughput assay to test if DNA breaks can be repaired using an alternative template other than DNA, to ensure genome stability. The proposed studies will identify novel and interesting factors that could stimulate novel therapeutic approaches by exploiting synthetic lethality in HR-deficient cancers.

Dr. Jalan’s research training over the last decade across three continents has primarily been focused on understanding the mechanisms utilized by cells to maintain genome integrity. Having completed her bachelor’s degree from St. Xavier’s College in India and master’s degree from the University of Sheffield in the U.K., Dr. Jalan went on to pursue her doctorate at the University of Oxford mentored by Professor Matthew Whitby. There, she identified genetic factors required during recombination dependent replication restart in yeast. Currently employed as a research scholar at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Jalan is working with Dr. Simon Powell to understand DNA damage response in mammalian cells.

Acknowledgment of Support
It is my great privilege to receive the 2020 AACR-Swim Across America Cancer Research Fellowship. I would like to thank the review committee and my mentor Dr. Powell for supporting my application. This prestigious award is an important step in my career to build the foundation to be an independent researcher.