São Paulo, Brazil (February 4, 2020) – On World Cancer Day, The Mary Kay FoundationSM, is proud to announce the first of five recipients of the new International Postdoctoral Scholars in Cancer Research Grant program established last year with UT Southwestern Medical Center. Natália Bernardes, Ph.D., is a biotechnological engineer with a doctorate degree in general and applied biology from São Paulo State University in Brazil. This new one-year fellowship will provide Dr. Bernardes the resources to conduct innovative cancer research at the world-renowned UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and allow her to continue her research activity in Brazil with a return grant.
Dr. Bernardes’ research will be focused on studying the molecules in charge of maintaining the DNA organized inside cells and identifying any problems with these molecules that could lead to anomalous cell growth such as cancer. During her year-long fellowship, she will be mentored by Yuh Min Chook, Ph.D. and Professor in the Pharmacology and Biophysics Department at UT Southwestern.
“The support of grant funding is critical at every stage of research,” said Dr. Natália Bernardes. “With the support of The Mary Kay FoundationSM, I will be able to learn and practice cutting-edge techniques, transfer this knowledge to current research projects and help identify drug targets for the most common types of cancers that affect the Brazilian population.”
The program marks the first time the Foundation’s cancer research grants have supported global researchers, showing its continued commitment to ending women-related cancers around the world.
“We are excited to bring together a coalition of the best and brightest research minds to find a cure for cancers affecting women,” said Dr. Lucy Gildea, Chief Scientific Officer at Mary Kay Inc. “Supporting the tireless work and dedicated service of the medical research community to our society is to continue Mary Kay Ash’s mission to enrich the lives of women everywhere.”
The Mary Kay FoundationSM announced the first-ever global recipients, Dr. Shengyan Gao from Mainland China and Dr. Natália Bernardes, who will be joined by three more international postdoctoral students in Dallas later this year. UT Southwestern is one of the premier academic medical centers in the United States and has been an on-going partner to The Mary Kay FoundationSM in its shared mission to find cures for cancers affecting women for nearly 25 years. The institution’s faculty includes many distinguished members, including six who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985.
“I am deeply honored to see Dr. Bernardes join a group of accomplished international scientists in Dallas as she continues to develop breakthrough research that will positively impact millions of lives in Brazil and around the world,” said Alvaro Polanco, General Manager of Mary Kay Brazil. “Behind every person diagnosed with cancer there are family and friends, but also physicians and scientists like Dr. Bernardes that every day bring us closer to improved treatments for women’s cancers.”
To date, The Mary Kay FoundationSM has awarded more than $23 million to support the work of over 235 top women-related cancer researchers funding efforts to discover cures for breast, uterine, cervical and ovarian cancers.