East Hawaii News

Pharmacy College Professor Awarded $675,000 Research Grant

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A member of the faculty at the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s College of Pharmacy has received a $675,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The NCI career development award to Assistant Professor Dana-Lynn T. Koomoa-Lange was a first for UHH, and the only award of this type to be given to a native Hawaiian in the entire University of Hawaii system, a UHH spokeswoman said.

The NCI requires that the recipient of the five-year award perform research under an experienced mentor in the biomedical, behavioral or clinical sciences. College of Pharmacy Dean John Pezzuto will be the faculty mentor.

Koomoa-Lange’s research, entitled “MYCN-induced calcium and magnesium signaling regulates neuroblastoma progression,” will concentrate on finding an effective treatment strategy for advanced stage neuroblastoma, a type of pediatric cancer.


In her proposal for the grant, Koomoa-Lange noted that the research could help develop more effective chemotherapeutic drugs.

“This is a highly competitive and prestigious award, one which very few in the entire University of Hawaii  system will ever have a chance to receive,” Pezzuto said. “Dana is a very talented scientist who is destined to be one of our stars.”

Koomoa-Lange grew up in Hawaii and received her bachelor’s degree in biology from San Diego State University. She earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Biology and Medicine at Brown University in Providence, RI, and returned to Hawaii to work as a post-doctoral associate at the Center for Biomedical Research at Queen’s Medical Center.


Before joining the CoP faculty in 2011, she held a position at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, which is now known as the University of Hawai`i Cancer Center.


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