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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Dr. Christopher Hammell named 2012 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar

Chris Hammell
Chris Hammell

Cold Spring Harbor, NYChristopher Hammell, Ph.D., is one of seven 2012 Rita Allen Foundation scholars announced today. An investigator in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s (CSHL) cancer research program, Dr. Hammell is interested in understanding the gene regulatory process that gives rise to normal development in animals as well as alterations in these processes that give rise to diseases such as cancer. Hammell was also selected to receive the special honor of being named the Milton E. Cassel Scholar, a tribute to the memory of a long-time president of the foundation.

“CSHL is very proud to have Dr. Hammell in our ranks and we look forward to the scientific contributions that I am sure will result from support he receives from the Rita Allen Foundation,” said CSHL Director of Research David L. Spector. “One of the great strengths of CSHL is a robust contingent of young faculty, including Dr. Hammell, who are being recognized with competitive awards from leading biomedical foundations.”

Hammell received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Georgia and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Dartmouth Medical School. His research is focused on systematic and functional identification of components that control the activity of multiple regulatory RNAs. These RNAs, called microRNAs, govern the expression of large suites of downstream targets and play important roles in defining specific cell fates. Hammell and colleagues are employing a variety of model organisms and patient-derived cancer cell lines in their research. To directly identify the components that function in controlling normal developmental timing they are employing the small nematode, C. elegans, which enables them to harness the power of forward and reverse genetic approaches.

Written by: Public Affairs | | 516-367-8455

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About Rita Allen Foundation Scholars

Rita Allen Foundation Scholars are young leaders in biomedical science who focus on areas of global concern and demonstrate a unique combination of risk-taking and passionate commitment.  Scholars have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, the National Medal of Science, and the Wolf Prize in Medicine. Over 100 Rita Allen Foundation Scholars have been selected since 1976 and those selected receive grants of up to $110,000 annually for a maximum of five years.

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit