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COBRE-PSF researcher featured in metropolitan newspaper

Saturday, December 1, 2012
Beck photo

Assistant professor of chemistry Moriah Beck
using a pipette in her laboratory at Wichita State
University. Mike Hutmacher/The Wichita Eagle

Research by COBRE-PSF Investigator Moriah Beck at Wichita State University was featured in the Wichita Eagle Beacon in December 2012. Her research focuses on unlocking the connection between cancer and protein.

The article cites Beck "as a rising star in biochemistry," according to one of the fellow scientists with whom she has worked. Beck began collaborating in a lab with Carol Otey, a scientist at the University of North Carolina in the late 1990s. In 2000, Otey discovered an interesting human protein called palladin. Twelve years later, Beck made a discovery that Otey says may reveal how palladin plays a crucial role in cancer metastasis, particularly with some pancreatic and breast cancers, and how it might be stopped.

Otey, who newspaper staff members reached at the University of North Carolina, said that what Beck did after 2000 was take a big risk, which led to a big discovery. There are many proteins now being discovered, Otey said. Any scientist who bets on only one protein — who invests a lot of time and energy into studying just that one — runs the risk that the protein will turn out to be a rather dull actor.

In 2007 Beck decided to risk spending years on palladin, because she had a hunch it was interesting. Otey was quoted in the article as saying she believes Beck’s risk is going to pay off. Recent scientific papers and research studies done elsewhere, Otey said, are causing scientists to suspect there may be a link between palladin and the spread of some pancreatic and breast cancers. And now it looks like Beck is well on the way to proving that link, Otey said.

Read the Wichita Eagle article here.