MD Anderson professor wins notable AAAS award

MD Anderson News Release 06/20/14

Li Ma, Ph.D., assistant professor of Experimental Radiation Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has been named co-winner of a distinguished award by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 

She shares the AAAS Martin and Rose Wachtel Cancer Research Award with Jeffrey Tyner, Ph.D., assistant professor at Oregon Health & Science University.  Ma’s laboratory is investigating novel determinants of tumor invasion, metastasis and therapeutic targets in breast cancer. She reported in the October 2012 issue of Nature Medicine the identification of a receptor protein that suppresses local invasion and metastasis of breast cancer cells. Her discovery of a protector for PTEN, a tumor-thwarting protein often missing in cancer cells, was reported in the December 2013 issue of Nature Cell Biology.

Ma’s research focuses on understanding how to regulate breast cancer metastasis, breast tumor radioresistance, and key breast cancer proteins and pathways, in hopes of developing new therapeutic strategies.

The Wachtel Award is an annual prize that honors early career investigators performing outstanding work in cancer research. Winners receive $25,000, deliver a public lecture on their research and have their award entry essay published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Ma is also affiliated with the Cancer Biology Program at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She earned her Ph.D. at Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Cornell University.