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News Release
Mobile, Ala. (March 29, 2005)
Contact: Mary Johnston, (251) 461-1509

Inna Shokolenko wins first place at the Environmental Mutagen Society's 35th Annual Meeting

Dr. Inna Shokolenko

Inna Shokolenko, Ph.D., a post doctoral researcher at the University of South Alabama Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, won first place in the "Best New Investigator Poster" contest at the Environmental Mutagen Society's 35th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa. recently.

Shokolenko studies mitochondrial DNA damage and the repair in mammalian cells with emphasis on how such processes influence the survival of the cells under injurious conditions, such as oxidative stress. Being able to repair oxidative damage in mitochondrial DNA is important in maintaining cell functions and may play a role in cancer cell resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs. Shokolenko and her research colleagues have found that the addition of DNA repair enzymes to mitochondria can either enhance the repair process or diminish it depending on the nature of the enzyme.

One of Shokolenko's findings presented at the EMS meeting showed that a disruption in the normal repair of mitochondrial DNA in human cancer cells by the addition of Exonuclease III from E.coli, made the cancer cells more vulnerable to oxidative stress and eventually led to their death. Shokolenko also tested a new way of delivering the proteins to their cell destinations called protein transduction. This method allows for a protein of interest with slight modifications to be introduced directly into the cells. Once in the cell, the protein is directed to its final destination, the mitochondrial matrix, with the help of the mitochondrial targeting signal located on the protein. When successful, this approach can be used for the delivery of other potentially therapeutic proteins into the cell. Shokolenko continues to work on developing this technique.

Shokolenko received her masters in molecular biology from Kiev State University in Ukraine. She completed her doctorate in basic medical sciences at USA in 2003. Shokolenko is currently working in Dr. Susan Ledoux's lab at the USA Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience.

The Environmental Mutagen Society (EMS) is made up of a unique combination of academic, government, and industrial scientists and policy makers. EMS has over 850 members worldwide and is affiliated with the International Association of Environmental Mutagen Societies (IAEMS). EMS and IAEMS members have contributed substantially to the recognition of the critical role of mutation in the etiology of cancer. EMS also publishes a well-known journal, Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis.

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Date last changed: March 29, 2005 4:21 PM