Rachel Perry, PhD, assistant professor of medicine (endocrinology) and of cellular and molecular physiology, received the Endocrinology and Metabolism Section New Investigator Award from the American Physiological Society (APS) during its summit on April 21.
According to the APS, the New Investigator Award “recognizes an outstanding investigator within ten years of his or her terminal degree who has made meritorious contributions to the area of endocrinology and metabolism.”
Perry investigates the links between obesity, metabolism, and cancer. To do this, her lab uses stable isotope tracers to model metabolism alterations, which influence the development and progression of different tumor types.
As someone who transitioned into cancer signaling after she received her metabolism training, Perry explains the uniqueness of this approach, “We apply these tools that we would normally use in the metabolism world to tumors to see if we can understand how systemic metabolic physiology influences tumor metabolism.”
“We try to identify new targets and therapeutic approaches to combine with standard cancer treatment,” said Perry. In this effort to translate research into clinically relevant approaches, the Perry lab has led a small clinical trial in women with breast cancer by testing SGLT2 inhibitors, a type of metabolism-targeting drug that lowers blood sugar.
Additionally, their research may have important implications for future cancer metabolism research, as a recent study from the Perry lab found that there may be ways to improve responses to SGLT2 inhibitors based on a patient’s tumor genetics.
Perry was nominated for the award by Michael Caplan, PhD, MD, C. N. H. Long Professor of Cellular And Molecular Physiology, and chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology; and Gerald I Shulman, MD, PhD, MACP, MACE, FRCP, George R. Cowgill Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology) and co-director of the Yale Diabetes Research Center.
In addition to receiving the award, Perry presented at the APS’s annual summit.
“I’ve always considered myself a systemic physiologist, so I’m very excited and honored to see our contributions to understanding systemic metabolism being recognized by the American Physiological Society,” she said.
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