NIH OxCam graduate Dr. Michael Chen was named as the 2019 RNA Society/Scaringe Graduate Student Award recipient

Dr. Michael Chen, a graduate of the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program, was recently named as the RNA Society/Scaringe Graduate Student Award recipient for 2019. The RNA Society/Scaringe Awards were established to recognize the achievement of young scientists engaged in RNA research and to encourage them to pursue a career in the field of RNA. They are open to junior scientists, graduate students or postdoctoral fellows, from all regions of the world who have made a significant contribution to the broad area of RNA.

While in the NIH OxCam program he conducted his research in the laboratory of Professor Shankar Balasubramanian at the University of Cambridge, UK, and with Adrian R. Ferré-D’Amaré in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the NIH. Michael’s work in these two labs revolved around investigating how the essential helicase protein, DHX36, recognizes G-quadruplex nucleic acids (both DNA and RNA) with extraordinarily high affinity, and how it destabilizes these thermodynamically stable structures. He succeeded in providing a detailed biochemical analysis of this interaction, and ultimately the atomic structure of this complex. Michael received a NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholarship and a Cambridge International Scholarship in 2012, as well as the International Biomedical Research Alliance’s Gregory Paul Lenardo Basic Science Award for Discoveries in Cellular and Molecular Biology in 2016. He has been a member of the RNA Society since 2014. Dr. Chen is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Nuclera Nucleics based in Cambridge, UK. 

This is not the first instance in which a graduate of the NIH OxCam Program has been recognized with these prestigious awards.  Dr. Katie Deigan-Warner was the 2014 recipient of the Alliance’s Gregory Paul Lenardo Basic Science Award and the 2014 RNA Society/Scaringe Graduate Student Award.  Dr. Warner is the Founder and Senior Director of Research at Ribometrix located in Durham, North Carolina.