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Idoia Garcia, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Timothy Gershon, MD, PhD, has been awarded a Department of Defense Visionary Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. The peer-reviewed award is intended to support exceptionally talented recent medical or other doctoral graduates in their pursuit of cutting-edge, innovative, high-risk/high-impact cancer research during their postdoctoral fellowship.

The second unique aspect of this award mechanism aims to provide postdoctoral fellow support in the laboratory of outstanding early career investigators.

Dr. Garcia’s project will receive more than $330,000 to focus on the most common pediatric brain cancer, medulloblastoma. Current therapy for this cancer can cause severe long-term side effects for patients and the cancer is ultimately fatal for many children.

Medulloblastoma occurs in the cerebellum, where new nerve cells are born in children’s rapidly-developing brains. Dr. Garcia will use preclinical models to study how a protein that controls brain growth, called Aspm, may actually drive the growth of medulloblastoma. Her goal is to validate whether blocking Aspm is a potential treatment, with the ultimate goal of targeting Aspm in children with this cancer.

Dr. Garcia earned her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at University of Navarra, Spain and her PhD Molecular and Cellular Biology at University of Barcelona, Spain.