Dr. Patience Masamha
Dr. Patience Masamha

Dr. Chioniso Patience Masamha, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, recently received a prestigious Visionary Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the Department of Defense.

Sponsored by the Defense Health Program, the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program’s Visionary Postdoctoral Fellowship 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 three-year, $334,000 fellowship award, “Deciphering the Mechanism of Alternative Cleavage and Polyadenylation in Mantle Cell Lymphoma,” will help Masamha further her studies of Mantel Cell lymphoma (MCL), an aggressive subtype of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“Our research objective is to investigate how cancer cells hijack the cell’s normal machinery at the molecular level,” she said. “A better understanding of the molecular factors and pathways driving MCL is needed in order to develop drugs to treat and/or prevent the disease.”

Masamha will be working on this research with mentor Dr. Eric Wagner, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology.

“My mentor has been very supportive and has encouraged me to present my work both locally and at international meetings. I have also written grants under his supervision, and he was instrumental in me getting the award.  For this award, I will continue working in his lab with his guidance,” Masamha said.

Masamha received her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and a master’s degree in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

She previously received first prize at the 2012 for Postdoctoral Fellow Oral Presentation at the Biochemistry Department Research Retreat and was the 2011 winner of the Neuroscience Research Center Poster Competition.

-Darla Brown, Office of Communications, Medical School