The National Science Foundation (NSF) gave Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia molecular biologist Adam Resnick, PhD, a five-year award to study inositol pyrophosphates, a new class of signaling molecules. Dr. Resnick’s award is one of only a handful of active NSF awards given to Children’s Hospital investigators.

Found in all eukaryotic cells, inositol pyrophosphates “play roles in diverse processes,” said Dr. Resnick, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “They do novel things … they modify proteins in new ways.”

Named an assistant professor in neurosurgery at CHOP/Penn in 2009, Dr. Resnick with his partner, Chief of CHOP’s Neurosurgery Division Phillip B. “Jay” Storm, MD, study cell signaling in pediatric brain tumors, working to better understand tumors at a molecular and genetic level.

The award from the NSF is “extremely rare,” Dr. Resnick noted, because the agency is “very basic science and student education oriented.” The inositol pyrophosphate project is a good fit for the NSF, he said, because his lab conducts a fundamental level of research, while at the same time it is committed to translational research. After all, in order to perform translational research, scientists first have to know how cells work, Dr. Resnick said.

The project will feature specific opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students to receive basic research training in the context of the laboratory’s translational science endeavors. Students will have the chance to get a “real authentic view of the importance of basic, fundamental research in the context of a children’s hospital setting,” Dr. Resnick said.

To read more about Dr. Resnick’s project, see the NSF award page.