The American Association for Cancer Research’s (AACR) Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council selected Dr. Jayanta Kumar Das, a professor in the department of environmental health sciences at Florida International University (FIU) Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, as a recipient of the 2018 AACR Minority and Minority-Serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Award.
[Photo: Dr. Jayanta Kumar Das]
The award program increases the scientific knowledge base of minority faculty members and faculty members at minority-serving institutions, while encouraging these individuals to continue careers in cancer research. It’s supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.
“In receiving this award, I will continue my efforts to establish a successful and productive cancer stem cell research program that can train future minority cancer researchers in our community,” said Dr. Das, who will accept the award at the AACR Annual Meeting April 14 – 18, in Chicago. “I also hope to advance the field of cancer stem cell research, directly contributing to the development of anti-cancer drugs against drug-resistant cancer stem cells.”
Dr. Das is specifically interested in advancing cancer therapy by discovering small molecules that work against cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells commonly contain drug resistance properties, which can lead to tumor relapse and the death of cancer patients. Advanced cancer therapy is paused due to the drug-resistant characteristics, and consequently, discovery and design of new anticancer drugs or small molecules are urgent.
Dr. Das is the inventor of the in vitro 3D-model in cancer stem cell research, documented by his publication in 2012. He has received numerous awards and honors in molecular cancer biology for his research on cancer stem cells and environmental risk factors or carcinogens. His work has been the basis of many investigations in laboratories around the world and has sparked opportunities for more research; his publications have been included in more than 500 citation indexes since 2013.