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Jelena Todoric receives ASciNA Award

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(Vienna, 12 December 2019) Jelena Todoric, an employee of MedUni Vienna's Department of Laboratory Medicine, currently working as a researcher at the University of California in San Diego, has been awarded the ASciNA Award (Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America) by the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research in the Young Scientist category.

Jelena Todoric was honoured alongside Andreas Pedroß-Engel (Vienna University of Technology, University of Washington) in the Young Scientist category. Claudia Leeb from the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs of Washington State University was recognised in the Junior Principal Investigator category.

The awards were presented by Heinz Faßmann, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research, at a ceremony held on 8 December 2018 after the annual Austrian Research and Innovation Talk (ARIT) organised by the Office of Science and Technology Austria in Washington, D.C..

"The ASciNA Awards are a form of public recognition for the outstanding scientific achievements of young Austrian researchers in North America," said Minister Faßmann, "The aim of the awards is to build a scientific bridge between Austria and North America and to celebrate the extraordinary research achievements of young Austrian scientists working abroad. The ASciNA network, which organises the competition, is a long-standing and committed partner of the US Department of Science. It contributes in many different ways to the networking of Austrian researchers in North America and provides an important link to the research community in Austria and Europe."

The network of Austrian scientists in North America ASciNA was founded in Washington D.C in 2002 and now has more than 1,200 members worldwide. Apart from the ASciNA Awards, the main activities of the network are the ASciNA mentoring programme and local networking in the ASciNA chapters. The ASciNA Awards are funded by the Federal Ministry to the tune of €10,000 and twice €7,500 and are administered by the ASciNA network. The prize-winners are selected by the Austrian Science Fund FWF on the basis of an international review.

About Jelena Todoric
Two years after completing her doctorate in endocrinology and metabolism at the Medical University of Vienna in 2010, Jelena Todoric moved to California where she has since worked as a researcher at the University of California, San Diego, in the field of oncology. Her article: "Stress-Activated NRF2-MDM2 Cascade Controls Neoplastic Progression in Pancreas", which won her the Young Scientist Award, appeared in the specialist journal "Cancer Cell" in December 2017. In this study, Jelena Todoric demonstrated that autophagy plays an important role in the development of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive form of cancer, for which no progress has been made in terms of treatment over the last 40 years. The findings from Jelena Todoric's study, which were validated in an animal model and also in human cells, offer great therapeutic potential. Jelena Todoric's research placement in the USA was funded by an FWF Erwin Schrödinger scholarship and an APART scholarship from the Austrian Academy of Sciences.