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

Cold Spring Harbor, NY – Christopher 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.”

ritaallen_logoHammell 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.

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 (CSHL) has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. CSHL is ranked number one in the world by Thomson Reuters for impact of its research in molecular biology and genetics. The Laboratory has been home to eight Nobel Prize winners. Today, CSHL's multidisciplinary scientific community is more than 360 scientists strong and its Meetings & Courses program hosts more than 12,500 scientists from around the world each year to its Long Island campus and its China center. Tens of thousands more benefit from the research, reviews, and ideas published in journals and books distributed internationally by CSHL Press. The Laboratory's education arm also includes a graduate school and programs for undergraduates as well as middle and high school students and teachers. CSHL is a private, not-for-profit institution on the north shore of Long Island. For more information, visit