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Race for breast cancer research support

March 29, 2016

Chunyan He spends much of her time in a laboratory at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and in classrooms teaching her students in the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, working on finding solutions for breast cancer.

Dr. Chunyan He

Chunyan He of the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and the Simon Cancer Center is making the most of funding support from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

But He knows where she will be on Saturday, April 16: She’ll be at Military Park next to the IUPUI campus, volunteering at the 2016 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. After receiving a $450,000 grant from the Komen organization to identify epigenetic markers that drive breast cancer development, she can't imagine being anywhere else.

"Like a lot of people, I am passionate about this issue," she said. "Those who care about breast cancer research appreciate the work that researchers all over the country do with the funds raised by the Komen Foundation. We appreciate the passion that those who participate, those who volunteer and those who contribute bring to the cause."

He said the funds came from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which awarded her a Career Catalyst Research Grant. He said she’s learned that contributions go from local organizations, like the Susan G. Komen Central Indiana office, to the national headquarters of the organization, where she and other researchers apply for funds to support their work.

"We are part of a process that connects those who are involved in breast cancer research and those who contribute to the Susan G. Komen Foundation," He said. "Researchers are grateful for that support and for the work that the organization and the volunteers put in to make all this happen. These people show a huge amount of dedication; they put so much love and hard work for others."

He's research focus is on epigenetics, the study of how age and exposure to environmental factors may cause changes in the way genes are switched on and off without changing a person's DNA sequence. Her work could help identify the impact of genetic and environmental risk factors on breast cancer, and her role in the IU Simon Cancer Center will allow her to utilize the resources of the Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center in her study.

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