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Segal wins Pioneer Award for studies of mitogenic niche

In September, Rosalind Segal, MD, PhD (DFCI), professor of neurobiology, received the 2006 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, a five-year, $2.5 million grant given to an outstanding scientist who pioneers new approaches to biomedical research. Segal's research has shown, in studies of the developing brain, that a well-characterized mitogenic niche (the microenvironment of stem cells) requires carbohydrates to develop and grow normal cells - as well as tumor cells.

“The interesting challenge to cracking the ‘carbohydrate code’ that creates this mitogenic niche,” says Charles Stiles, PhD (DFCI), "is the sheer size of the human glycome (the entirety of sugars in a cell) – more than all the stars in the sky. Rosalind’s innovative approaches to crunching the glycome down to bite-size chunks factored heavily in this award.” Segal was among 13 scientists selected to receive the award this year.