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Nicholas Prescott Awarded Prestigious NCI Fellowship

NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00) | By Megan Allen, PhD
Tuesday, August 31, 2021

We would like to congratulate Nicholas Prescott (TPCB, 5th year) on receipt of the prestigious NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00). This year, the NCI bestowed the award on a total of 24 trainees across the country. This extremely competitive fellowship will support Nicholas for the duration of his dissertation research training and his subsequent transition to a cancer-focused postdoctoral research position. Further, this multi-year award brings in over $300,000.00 in research dollars! Well done, Nicholas!

Nick is completing his dissertation research under the mentorship of Dr. Yael David where he investigates Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection, which affects more than 250 million people worldwide. Chronic HBV persists due to the virus’ unique lifecycle, during which the viral genome forms a minichromosome of covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA). Interestingly, the host’s histones populate the cccDNA, composed of only viral DNA, resulting in a primary transcriptional template for HBV replication that persists as a reservoir of virus upon interruption of antiviral treatment. We know very little about how to halt this persistent replication due to limited methods available to adequately study the chromatin landscape of cccDNA. Recognizing a critical need to overcome these obstacles, Nicholas and has developed a research plan to identify the gaps in our knowledge by 1) creating a reliable platform to study recombinantly assembled cccDNA in vitro and 2) applying recent methodological advances to illuminate the cccDNA landscape within infected cells.

As a post-doctoral researcher, Nick plans to pursue projects that uncover the basic mechanisms underlying chromatin remodeler function to provide clinically relevant insights into their roles in disease. For this fellowship, Nick proposed to use biochemistry, structural biology, and cell and molecular biology to study members of the chromodomain helicase DNA-binding (CHD) family of chromatin remodelers, due to their implication in a variety of cancers.

Once again, congratulations to Nicholas for receiving the NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00). We would also like to commend the mentorship provided by Dr. Yael David who supported Nicholas through the application process. The research group’s positive contribution to the field of chromatin biology deserves recognition throughout our research community!

Dr. Yael David and Nicholas Prescott

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