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Young Investigator: Jamie Grit

By October 11, 2021January 17th, 2024Awards & Grants

The Young Investigator Award, initiated in 1985, is the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s longest-running award program, and provides two-year salary support to early-career NF researchers to help them get established as independent NF investigators. Since its inception, several YIAs have made groundbreaking research findings and notable publications through this program, and many have advanced to become leaders in the NF research and clinical communities.

New for 2021, additional funding and duration has been available, extending the support to span 3 years. Now, we’re introducing some of these researchers: Jamie Grit tells us about her research and being part of the community.


What are you hoping to learn from this project?

I want to understand how loss of neurofibromin leads to inflammation that causes cutaneous neurofibromas (CNFs) to grow and become painful or itchy. Understanding what cellular pathways are important for these processes is critical for developing new CNF treatments that can improve the quality of life for people with NF1.

Tell us about life in a research lab. What’s a typical day look like?

Every day in the lab is different. Sometimes I’m doing a lot of experiments at the bench, other days it’s all on the computer analyzing data or writing up my findings or new ideas. My favorite thing to do is analyze data – it’s so exciting to see my work come together to answer an important question.

What brought you to the NF research field?

I learned about NF1 in a class in graduate school about the genetics of tumor predisposition syndromes. I thought it was really interesting from a scientific perspective so I decided to study MPNSTs for my dissertation. After connecting with CTF and our local advocacy group (NF Michigan) I decided to focus my career on research that will improve the health and well-being of people living with NF.

What do you like to do when you’re not in the lab?

When I’m not in the lab I’m mostly spending time with my family and coworkers (aka best friends). Lots of us in the lab have young families so we love getting together for weekend playdates or pizza parties. I also like to garden – I’m trying to incorporate more native plants into my yard to make it a better habitat for pollinators and birds.

What does it mean to you to receive this funding from CTF?

The funding I received from CTF is amazing – it’s supporting my work, but beyond that, it’s given me a sense of community. Research can be really fun, but there are also some days where it can be demoralizing and exhausting. Knowing that the leaders in NF research think my ideas are valuable and fit with the mission of CTF is incredibly rewarding and energizing. I could not achieve my long-term research goals without being part of this community!


Information about the 2021 Young Investigator Awards and other funding opportunities from the Children’s Tumor Foundation are available here.