CRI Trainee Earns Prestigious NCI Fellowship

Milan Savani

Milan Savani, an M.D./Ph.D. student, is the latest CRI trainee to earn a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service F30 Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In the McBrayer lab, Savani studies how brain cancer cells use nutrients differently than their healthy counterparts in hopes of identifying new treatment options for gliomas, the most common type of brain tumor.

“I am grateful to receive support from the NCI to help me expand my current work investigating the mechanisms of a metabolic dependency in brain tumors,” said Savani, who is also part of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at UT Southwestern. “I feel lucky to have such a supportive community surrounding me, without which this would not have been possible. My mentor Dr. McBrayer, my co-sponsor Dr. DeBerardinis, members of the McBrayer laboratory, and the broader CRI and UT Southwestern community have provided invaluable support.”

F30 grants support students who are pursuing dual M.D. and Ph.D. degrees and preparing for careers as physician-scientists. Recipients are awarded about $150,000 in funding over a four-year period to support their career development and research. Savani will use this funding to develop a new technology to comprehensively profile the levels and usage of metabolic fuels that contain the element nitrogen. A clearer understanding of the complex network of the chemical reactions taking place in cancer cells will help researchers spot vulnerabilities that could be targeted to suppress cancer growth.

“Milan is an outstanding junior scientist developing exciting new ways to study and target metabolism for brain tumor therapy. He couldn’t be more deserving of this prestigious award. Milan’s colleagues and I are thrilled for him and for the opportunities this award presents for his career development and his research project. I anticipate that Milan’s work will have a significant impact in the cancer metabolism field and I’m very pleased that this award will support his efforts,” said Samuel McBrayer, Ph.D., Savani’s mentor and an Assistant Professor at CRI.

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