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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Reed Chemistry Professor Ronald McClard has been awarded a grant of $109,000 from the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute for his project "Mechanistic Probes of Phosphoribosyltransferases."

This grant enables McClard and senior research associate John Witte, who has been working with McClard since 1985, to sustain their work on understanding how the small-molecule components of DNA and RNA are synthesized in the cell. Cancer cells depend much more on DNA and RNA metabolism than normal cells. Part of their work involves design of inhibitors, which might lead to anti-cancer agents. The primary research focus is understanding the mechanism of nucleotide biosynthesis (the small molecule precursors of RNA and DNA), since fundamental understanding of this mechanism is crucial in determining the difference between normal and cancerous tissue.

McClard holds a Ph.D in biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles and has had works published in numerous chemistry and biochemistry journals. His research has been supported by the American Cancer Society (Oregon and national divisions), the National Institutes of Health, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, among various other foundations. He was also the recipient of a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teaching and Research Fellowship. He has been on the Reed faculty since 1984 and was appointed to the inaugural Arthur F. Scott Professorship of Chemistry this year.

The National Institutes of Health is one of the world's foremost biomedical research centers and the federal focal point for biomedical research in the U.S. The NIH, in Bethesda, Maryland, is one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service which, in turn, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.