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Julie Law named Rita Allen Foundation Scholar

Julie Law

Julie Law, Assistant Professor in Salk's Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, was named a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar in July. She is one of just seven researchers in 2015 to receive the distinction, which is given to early-career biomedical scientists whose research holds exceptional promise for advancing the frontiers of knowledge about how biological systems function in health and disease.

Law, who holds the Hearst Foundation Development Chair, will receive grants of up to $110,000 per year for a maximum of five years to conduct innovative research on brain development, antiviral immunity, gene regulation mechanisms, and the interplay of cancer, inflammation and chronic pain. She joins nearly 150 scientists who have been selected as Allen scholars since the program's inception in 1976.

Law's research focuses on chromatin, the combination of proteins, small RNAs and other molecules that surround genomic DNA and play key roles in controlling gene expression and stability. To investigate how chromatin modifications impact genome stability and development, Law and her team genetically manipulate chromatin components in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana by combining classical genetics with fluorescence imaging and new gene-editing techniques.

"We hope that a greater understanding of these processes will ultimately lead to the development of new tools that can be used to correct chromatin defects," Law says.